CLEARFIELD — Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw, Jr. announced Friday that there is a continuing investigation of the Nov. 24 shooting in Osceola Mills.
Shaw said his office has requested a complete review of this case. He noted that an investigation is currently ongoing to determine the exact nature of the circumstances leading up to this tragic event.
Shaw said the investigation has been assigned to the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Integrity and Professional Standards.
“Three people are deceased, and it is critical to verify that all policies and procedures were followed,” he said.
Shaw reported the Clearfield-based state police responded to a domestic incident with reports of gunshots around 7:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, at a Curtin Street residence in Osceola Mills. Upon arrival, officers discovered that three victims had been shot. Officers began an immediate search for the suspect, identified as 26-year-old Cody Bush of Osceola Mills.
Chief Deputy Coroner Kim Shaffer identified the shooting victims as Victoria Schultz, 21, and her mother, Beth Schultz, 47, both of Osceola Mills. A third shooting victim, identified as Jessica Schultz, 25, was taken to UPMC Altoona for treatment.
At approximately 11:30 a.m. on the same day, officers located the remains of Cody Bush along Route 53, outside of Osceola Mills. Bush suffered an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
At the time of the shooting, Bush was on bail following a Nov. 8 preliminary hearing on a misdemeanor charge of stalking and summary charge of harassment. The charges stem from an incident where Bush secretly mounted a GPS tracking device on the car of Victoria Schultz. The victim reported to state police that she was being stalked by her ex-boyfriend.
Following the Nov. 8 preliminary hearing, all charges were held for court. At the request of the District Attorney’s office, the District Magistrate issued a no-contact order on Bush directing Bush to have no contact with Victoria Schultz. The no-contact order was a condition of Bush’s bail.
At approximately 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, state police responded to the Curtin Street address for a reported harassment involving both Bush and Victoria Schultz. Shaw said earlier reports indicating that Bush was charged with harassment for the Nov. 22 incident are misleading.
Shaw explained that the police prepared the harassment citation, but it had not officially been filed with the District Magistrate.
He further explained that Pennsylvania State Police protocol requires that a citation be prepared by an investigating trooper, then submitted to a supervising corporal for approval. Once approved by the supervising corporal, the citation is forwarded to the District Magistrate, who officially files the citation.
In this case, Shaw said the citation was prepared and in the process of being sent to the District Magistrate’s office for filing.
He added that “although the citation had been prepared and forwarded to the magistrate’s office, the citation was not officially filed.” Shaw further explained Bush could not have been incarcerated on the citation, even had it been officially filed, because bail is not set when summary citations are issued.
While at the residence on Nov. 22, state police encouraged Victoria Schultz to apply for a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order. Later in the day on Nov. 22, Victoria Schultz applied for and was granted a temporary PFA.
Upon issuance of the PFA, deputies from the Clearfield County Sheriff’s Department immediately attempted to serve Bush with the PFA order. Bush could not be located and consistent with routine procedure, the state police were requested to assist in serving the PFA after hours.
Ultimately, Bush was located on Nov. 23 — Thanksgiving Day — around noon, and served with the PFA by troopers from the state police barracks in Woodland. When the PFA was served, the state police verified that Bush did not have any firearms in his possession.
Shaw reported that an investigation is ongoing to determine where Bush obtained the firearm used in the shooting. Preliminary reports indicate that Bush had stolen the firearm from a residence in Ginter.
Shaw also clarified Bush having contact with Victoria Schultz on Nov. 22 would have been a violation of the no-contact order issued following the Nov. 8 preliminary hearing. Shaw said violations of no-contact orders are handled through a petition to revoke bail filed by his office. Shaw said, upon learning of the circumstances of this case, his office was gathering information to file a petition to revoke Bush’s bail.
He pointed out a petition to revoke Bush’s bail would have been filed on Monday, Nov. 27, noting the Clearfield County Courthouse was closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Shaw explained when a petition to revoke bail is filed, the petition is processed and scheduled like any other petition, and the process can take several days before a judge is able to hear the case and make a ruling. Shaw said the rules require the Commonwealth give notice of the petition to revoke bail, as well as the date and time of the hearing, to the defendant and defense counsel, who have the right to call witnesses and oppose the motion.
He further explained when a violation of a no-contact order occurs, police are not permitted to simply have the offender placed in jail. Constitutional requirements guarantee that due process is provided to criminal defendants and the law requires that notice and a hearing be provided before a bail revocation can occur.
To clarify the process, Shaw noted that although a District Magistrate sets bail, only a judge in the Court of Common Pleas can revoke bail. To have someone’s bail revoked, the Commonwealth must prove to the court that a violation has in fact occurred. This requires an evidentiary hearing before the court where witnesses will testify, and evidence will be offered to support a revocation.
Shaw pointed out that in the present case, a petition was required to be filed, served on Bush and his attorney, and a hearing conducted before Bush’s bail could be revoked. Shaw said logistically the earliest a bail revocation hearing could have occurred would have been Nov. 29 or 30.
He pointed out that domestic violence is a serious crime. Victims of domestic violence are encouraged to seek assistance and report their situation. Shaw said services are available in Clearfield County for victims of domestic violence.
“We have access to a safe house for the protection of victims and their families,” Shaw said. In Clearfield County, victims of domestic violence are encouraged to call the police and report their situation. Victims of domestic violence can also call Crossroads Program for Domestic Violence at 1-800-598-3998.
Shaw said these horrific tragedies are unacceptable and noted increased efforts need to be put forth to prevent the senseless loss of life. Shaw explained that citizens are understandably enraged that this type of conduct can occur in “our community” and encouraged community members to contact their local legislators to advocate for stricter laws to assist in the prevention of domestic violence. Among other things, Shaw said the police need the legal authority to immediately detain someone suspected of violating a no-contact order or similar bail condition.
Anyone with knowledge or information about a crime is asked to call Clearfield County Crime Stoppers at (800) 376-4700.
All calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential. Anonymous tips can also be submitted by visiting the Clearfield County District Attorney web site at “www.ClearfieldDA.org” and selecting “Report A Crime.”