By Calvin Palmer
A woman who openly carried a loaded handgun to her daughter’s soccer game just in case something awful happened to her and her family was shot dead in what police believe was a murder-suicide.
The bodies of Melanie Hain, 31, and Scott Hain, 33, were found on Wednesday night at their home in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
Police have released few details surrounding the deaths. But a neighbor, Aileen Fortna, said she saw the couple’s children running down the street shouting “Daddy shot Mommy.”
Lebanon City Police Chief Daniel Wright said the children were at a neighbor’s house by the time police responded to 911 calls.
“What they did or did not see as part of this is not something we’re going to release,” Wright said.
The couple reportedly had been fighting. Scott Hain, a Berks County parole officer, left the house on Tuesday and returned on Wednesday. That afternoon, neighbors saw him mowing the lawn.
That was just hours before the Hains’ children, ages two, six and 10, ran screaming to a neighbor’s house.
Wright acknowledged reports that the couple might have been having marital difficulties.
“I’m not going to confirm that now, but I’m not going to dispute it either,” he said.
As police surrounded the Hains’ house, neighbors were evacuated.
Fortna said there appeared to be a stand-off between police and someone in the house that lasted three hours.
“It looked like they were trying to talk to him, to call him,” she said.
Officers then went in the house and found the bodies.
Melanie Hain made headlines in 2008 when she attended her daughter’s soccer game with a Glock holstered on her hip in plain view. That upset other parents.
The sheriff revoked her license to carry and conceal a gun nine days later, citing a state law that prohibits certain gun permits from being given to people whose character and reputation make them a danger to public safety.
A county judge overturned that decision but questioned her judgment and said she had “scared the devil” out of people.
Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold said: “I’m a pretty big advocate for the right to possess and own firearms, so I don’t look at this as something where there’s an indication that stricter gun regulations are necessary.
“Obviously responsible gun ownership is the key to gun ownership.”
The Hains’ federal lawsuit against Sheriff Michael DeLeo, and the county, which alleged he violated her constitutional rights and prosecuted her maliciously, was pending in federal court at the time of her death. Her attorney, Matthew Weisberg, said he hopes to continue the litigation.
Weisberg said Meleanie told him about six months ago she and Scott had separated, and three months ago she wanted to pursue a protective order against him. She wanted to have Scott’s name removed from the lawsuit, but that never happened, Weisberg said.
“Whether they’d reconciled in the last couple of months, I don’t know,” he added.
Knowing how the ultra-conservative supporters of the right to bear arms like to quote the Old Testament, as if it has any relevance to 21st century living, to support their archaic views, perhaps they should look to the New Testament, which embodies the the ethos of the Christian faith, and remember the verse: “For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”