Masontown gunman targeted his wife in shooting

By Amanda Klein | September 20, 2018

Authorities confirmed Thursday that the wife of the man who was killed by police after shooting four people at a Masontown judge’s office was his intended target.

According to a Protection From Abuse Petition filed by Crystal Dowdell on Aug. 27, her husband Patrick Dowdell choked her with a belt two days earlier after she told him she was seeking a divorce.

Mr. Dowdell reacted violently the court document alleges and he told her, “there would be no divorce” while holding a gun. She alleged in the filing that her husband pushed down on a bed and wrapped the belt around her neck so tight she was unable to breathe. She escaped by kicking him and then ran and called the police.

On the same day the petition was filed, a judge granted Mrs. Dowdell a temporary PFA and barred her husband from their home and from contacting her.  Mr. Dowdell was also arrested and charged with aggravated assault and was supposed to appear at 1 p.m. Wednesday for a preliminary preliminary hearing. Instead, according to police and witnesses he attempted to kill his wife and shot three other people.Screenshot_20180920-215829.jpg

According to court records a judge granted her a one year PFA which was agreed to by her husband on Sept 10. The order continued to bar Mr. Dowdell from his home and also ordered him not to have contact with his wife.

What should have happened under state law, but didn’t, was that police seize any firearms Mr. Dowdell had. Under the terms of the agreement Mr. Dowdell was not required to surrender his guns. However, it is a violation of federal law for a person who has an active PFA against them to possess firearms or ammunition.

In a public message posted at 9:11 p.m. Wednesday on Facebook Crystal said, “Just want everyone to know I am ok…” The three other victims of Wednesday’s shooting have been released from the hospital.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at

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