Police have identified the victim and alleged shooter involved in an apparent murder-suicide at a YMCA in Chester County.
It was shortly after 6:00 p.m. Monday when the Brandywine YMCA on the 200 block of Hurley Road in West Brandywine was placed on lockdown.
Gunfire was heard in the parking lot.
“We were in pool area for about an hour before one of the directors of the Y said we need to move everyone into the gymnasium,” YMCA lifeguard Kyle Jenkins said.
The first arriving police officer pulled into the YMCA parking lot and encountered 42-year-old Dennis Cassel armed with a handgun kneeling next to 41-year-old Jacinda Miller, who was unconscious on the ground.
Authorities say Cassel then put the gun to his own head and fired one shot.
Both were transported to Brandywine Hospital where they were pronounced dead from gunshot wounds.
Authorities say Dennis Cassel was the estranged boyfriend of Jacinda Miller and that he allegedly confronted her as she arrived to work.
“They were not married; it was a domestic situation. They did have a prior relationship with each other,” Hogan said.
Inside, lifeguards like Carley Stutzman tried to keep the kids calm and safe, making sure everyone stayed away from the windows.
“We did our job. We kept the place as safe as possible. That’s all we can do. We do what we know how to do the best and that’s keep our families safe. If that means putting ourselves at risk standing in front on window to keep kids and families away from there, then that’s what we’re going to do,” Stutzman said.
Stutzman says Miller was a coworker she admired.
“Beautiful, one of the sweetest and most caring people you will ever meet in your whole life; she was very motherly to everybody,” Stutzman said.
Chester County District Attorney Hogan stated, “This crime is another tragedy of domestic violence. Two children have been left without a mother. There is no excuse and no good explanation for this sort of violence. Our prayers are with the families.” Hogan added, “We thank the YMCA staff and our first responders for making sure that the scene was secured immediately and none of the children at the YMCA were harmed.”
In today’s society you never know when situational awareness may be to your benefit. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings and ALWAYS have a PLAN, Defend your OWN.