Paradise Twp. Shooting Suspect: “I Don’t Know Why I Did It”
The man charged in Tuesday’s killing of a Paradise Twp. building code official told police he “was under a lot of pressure” with ongoing issues at his township home.
David Richard Green, 72, 340 Sugarbush Road, Henryville, faces a single count of criminal homicide after police said he shot and killed Michael Paul Tripus early Tuesday morning.
Police responded to the Paradise Twp. building, 5912 Paradise Valley Road, around 8:20 a.m. for reports of an active shooter inside. Tripus, 65, of Stroudsburg, was pronounced dead at the scene from a single gunshot to the mouth. Troopers immediately arrested Green, who was still in the building when police arrived, and took him to the state police barracks in Stroudsburg.
During questioning, Green admitted he pulled the trigger and killed Tripus, according to the criminal complaint. He said he had “a lot of little issues including his health” adding up, troopers wrote in a criminal complaint. His previous residence burned down in December 2017, and he was having problems at his new home, including mold in the basement, he explained to police.
He also told troopers he drove to the township building that morning to see Tripus, whom he had never met in person. He said he didn’t know what happened but admitted he shot him, according to the criminal complaint. He apologized for hurting the victim and told troopers he wanted to apologize to Tripus’ wife, too.
‘I shot him’
Around 8:10 a.m., township employee Debra Brady told police she and another employee saw Green sitting in his Subaru Forester in the township lot, but they did not know who he was. About five minutes later, Brady spotted Green in the hallway. When she approached him, he asked to see Tripus.
She motioned toward Tripus’ office and overheard Green tell Tripus that “something” had gotten worse.
Minutes later, she heard a gunshot and called 911.
When she entered the office, she saw Tripus slumped in his chair with a handgun on his desk. Green was standing nearby.
After hearing a loud “bang noise,” township’s administrative secretary Tina Transue also ran to Tripus’ office where she found Green standing in the doorway, she told police.
“I shot him,” Green said.
As Brady began CPR on Tripus, Green walked into the hallway and remained there until officers arrived and arrested him. Green told police he placed the gun on Tripus’ desk after firing it once; Transue told police she also saw him put the gun down. Brady continued CPR until emergency crews arrived and took over, troopers said.
‘He was family’
Police also interviewed Green’s neighbor, Barbara Snyder, who said Green had problems at his Sugarbush Road home — including mold and septic issues — and struggled to get permits from the township. Police believe this may have been the motive for the shooting.
However, Green told police Tripus did not have anything to do with the current issues with his house, and the township worker had been professional with him, according to the complaint.
Tripus served as the backup zoning officer, building code officer and sewage enforcement officer for the township. He had worked with the town for at least eight years, said Gary Konrath, chairman of the Paradise Twp. board of supervisors.
Konrath, who has been a township supervisor for six years, said Tripus discussed retiring next year, but nothing was set in stone. Tripus worked for Building Inspection Underwriters of Pennsylvania and was contracted to work with the township, Konrath said.
Technically he wasn’t an employee of the township, “but he was family,” Konrath said.
The supervisor was unsure when the township building would reopen, but officials are looking to move their phone lines and computers to a temporary location, he said.
‘I don’t know’
At the preliminary arraignment Tuesday night before District Judge Phillip Riley, Green kept himself wrapped in the cocoon of yellow plastic. At one point, the judge asked if Green was able to hear him, The Morning Call reported.
“Yes sir,” Green answered quietly.
The judge ordered Green to be sent to county jail without bail and, as he was led through a scrum of media in the parking lot outside the court, Green said he was sorry for the killing.
“Why did you do it, David?” several reporters shouted at him. “Was it because of mold and permits?”
“I don’t know why I did it,” Green said quietly.
Green remains in Monroe County Prison. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Dec. 6.
Paradise Twp. is about 20 miles north of Ross Twp., where a gunman opened fire at a Board of Supervisors’ meeting in 2013, killing three.
THE MORNING CALL and staff writers JOSEPH KOHUT AND DANIEL ROSLER contributed to this report.
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