“It’s a nice place to live,” said Pam Duffey, of Mont Alto.
Fueled by social media and text messages, news of the Anthony Highway (Pa. 997) shootings spread quickly through the 1,900 households in Quincy Township and 600 households in the borough of Mont Alto, Pa. The community best known for its annual ox roast, sprawling retirement village and Penn State campus gained an unwanted notoriety across the state and country.
“I didn’t think it was possible it could happen, especially around here,” Duffey said, saying there is generally no local crime.
“It was an isolated incident. It’s certainly not something that happens on a regular basis here,” said state Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin.
Rock lives about two miles from where Kevin M. Cleeves allegedly gunned down his wife, her boyfriend and the boyfriend’s mother.
“It’s a shame,” Rock said. “You wouldn’t think that type of thing would happen in a place like that. It’s shocking something like that could happen anywhere, but especially here.”
Dennis Monn has lived in the Quincy and Mont Alto areas for seven decades. The Mont Alto borough councilman said it is “unbelievable” that the homicides happened so close to home.
“It’s a terrible situation,” he said.
Mont Alto Mayor John Esser said he joined others from his church in praying for the victims.
“Certainly it raises everybody’s awareness that it can happen here,” Esser said.
Esser, who moved to the area in 2007, described a sense of disbelief when he first heard the news.
“My wife and I both said, ‘It happened that close? It happened in Quincy, Mont Alto?’” he said. “I think people are going to say, ‘Wow, it happened here.’”
“It did take you by surprise,” said Chris Laman, of Chambersburg, Pa.
Laman said she has always considered Quincy, which is south of Chambersburg, to be a “small town where everybody knows each other.”
“I think it was more of an isolated, personal issue that spilled over,” Laman said. “We think it’s really sad that the little 4-year-old saw that.”
Loretta Wietry of Shippensburg, Pa., often brings her children to Twin Kiss on Anthony Highway on Sundays. She said she perceives Quincy as being family-oriented.
Residents “are in touch with each other. They know their neighbors,” she said.
That being said, the homicides did not stun Wietry.
“That’s the way the world is anymore,” she said.
Mont Alto resident Michelle Cornell said she was in disbelief when a co-worker told her about the situation.
“I was kind of shaken when she told me,” she said.
Cornell said the shootings do not change her perception of Quincy.
“It’s fairly quiet. A lot of people have lived around here their entire lives,” she said.