Saturday, July 14, 2007

Lunatic with a gun...

Suicidal gunman ‘angry at the government’

WILLINGBORO — The Pennsauken man who shot and wounded a member of the U.S. Air Force before killing himself left suicide notes that indicated he was “angry at the government and wanted to make a statement” on Independence Day, one of the man’s relatives said yesterday.

Matthew J. Marren, 22, of Walnut Avenue, drove to a home on Windsor Lane rented by Senior Airman Jonathan Schrieken, 22, at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Marren got of this vehicle, found Schrieken outside the house, shot him once in the chest with a small-caliber firearm, then turned the gun on himself, said Burlington County First Assistant Prosecutor Ray Milavsky.

Marren was pronounced dead at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro later Wednesday night.

Schrieken was taken to Cooper University Hospital in Camden where was listed in critical but stable condition yesterday afternoon, Milavsky said.

Schrieken is stationed at McGuire Force Base. He works as a loadmaster for the 6th Airlift Squadron.

Marren’s aunt, Terina Henderson of Trion, Ga., said she spoke to Marren’s mother yesterday who told her Marren left two notes, one in his home and one in his car, indicating he was upset with the government.

She said she did not know the exact wording in the notes, but said Marren was “mad at the government and wanted to make a statement … that’s why he did what he did on the Fourth of July.”

She did not know if Marren knew Schrieken or whether Marren shot him because he was affiliated with the military.

The circumstances and motive for the shooting were under investigation, Milavsky said yesterday. He confirmed the existence of two suicide notes, but declined to discuss the contents due to the ongoing investigation.

“I can confirm that two notes were left and that they were indicative of an individual suffering from mental-health problems,” he said.

Henderson said Marren formerly lived in Willingboro, but she did not know if he graduated from high school there.

“He had some problems with the law in the past, but I thought he had turned himself around,” Henderson said, adding she last saw him in November.

She said Marren’s mother resides in Moorestown.

An autopsy yesterday confirmed Marren’s death resulted from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Milavsky described Marren as “emotionally troubled.” He said detectives have not determined why Schrieken was shot or whether the two men knew each other.

“We’re looking at the motivations, but have not established a connection between the two men,” Milavsky said.

Other persons were present at the home at the time of the shooting.

They were not injured, Milavsky said.

A spokeswoman for McGuire Air Force Base was not able to provide information on Schrieken yesterday afternoon.

She said Marren was “in no way affiliated with the military.”

A resident of a home near the site of the shooting said Schrieken lives with several other men at the ranch-style home where the shooting took place.

“They’re all good boys,” said the neighbor, who declined to be named. “They leave for work early in the morning and then come home late in the evening. I’ve never known there to be any problems with them.”

Col. Harold Rice, commander of the 305th Operations Group, thanked Willingboro police and paramedics for their quick response to the incident.

“During this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers go out to Airman Schrieken. We wish him a speedy recovery,” Rice said in a statement.