Police look at phone records for clues in car wash slayings
Police on Monday were focusing on phone records to try to piece together how a group of friends wound up at a Pennsylvania self-serve car wash, where a gunman lying in wait in the early morning hours killed four of them and injured one who managed to hide.
The suspected shooter, 28-year-old Timothy Smith, suffered a gunshot wound to the head in the Sunday shooting at Ed’s Car Wash in Melcroft, a rural town about 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. He’s on life support and isn’t expected to survive what authorities believe may be a self-inflicted injury.
Smith was a jealous ex-boyfriend of 25-year-old victim Chelsie Cline, according to family members of some of the victims.
Also killed were William Porterfield, 27; Courtney Snyder, 23; and Seth Cline, 21. Another woman was able to hide in the back seat of a truck and only suffered minor injuries from broken glass, police said. Chelsie Cline and Seth Cline were half-siblings.
Four days before the shooting, Chelsie Cline had shared a meme on Facebook reading “After this week, I rlly need to get taken out … on a date or by a sniper either one is fine w me at this point.”
A Facebook friend, Tim Smith, replied: “I could do both.”
Timothy Smith was obsessed with Cline after they dated, leaving beer for her on her car and sending her flowers and other presents, said Chelsie Cline’s half-sister, Sierra Kolarik, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Kolarik said Smith “came off as the most kind-hearted person” but that his interests were “guns and guns and guns and shooting and beer and rolling cigarettes.”
Porterfield and Chelsie Cline spent time together in the days before the shooting after Cline broke off a relationship with Smith, Porterfield’s widow, Jenna Porterfield, 24, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She said a state police investigator told her Smith was Cline’s jealous former boyfriend.
“I was told my husband was cheating on me with (one of the victims), and that she had broken up with her previous boyfriend two days ago, and he went crazy and shot them all,” she said.
State police said Smith was the first person to arrive at the car wash and parked his pickup truck on the side of the two-bay car wash. They said he shot Porterfield and Chelsie Cline when they got out of their car and walked to the side of the car wash.
Snyder and Seth Cline arrived in a pickup truck and were both shot and killed in their vehicle, state police said.
A man who lives nearby said he heard about 30 gunshots over a span of several minutes.
Vicki Snyder lives down the road from Smith’s family and said her children were in school with the Smith children. Smith’s brother was the best man in her son’s wedding.
“He seemed like a normal kid,” she said of Smith, who was in the same grade as her daughter. “He seemed kind of quiet, but he was the youngest and he was always polite and very nice.”
She said Smith lived at home and helped out his older sister who uses a wheelchair after injuring her spine in a car accident a few years ago.
“They are just a typical family that had some tragedy and dealt with it,” Snyder said. “They’re down-to-earth, nice, regular people.”