FRENCH CREEK TOWNSHIP —
A French Creek Township man found partially burned Thursday not far from his home died of a single shotgun wound to the back, said Mercer County Deputy Coroner Robert L. Snyder.
The fire did not contribute to the death of David A. Dignall, 58, of 28 Blair Lane, who was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m. at the scene by Snyder.
Dr. Eric Vey, forensic pathologist for the Erie County Coroner’s Office, performed an autopsy Friday, and Snyder ruled the death a homicide.
A state police public communications officer at the Jackson Township barracks said investigators were tied up and could not comment.
Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems relayed through an employee that he had received no information on the case.
Snyder declined to comment on the shotgun’s gauge or shell type used in the shooting. He also declined to say how far away Dignall was away from the shooter and what type of clothing Dignall was wearing at the time. He said he would let state police handle the release of additional information.
State police and Cochranton volunteer firefighters were called at 5:28 p.m. to a vehicle fire on Hollobaugh Road and Dignall was found outside his partially burned Ford Aerostar minivan, police said. Initial emergency radio traffic indicated a burn victim from acid and the person was on fire, but Snyder said no acid was involved.
Dignall was remembered with fondness Friday by government officials in his home township and nearby Cochranton, where his family has operated an auto parts business for more than 50 years.
“He was a wonderful person,” said Cochranton Borough Manager Fran McClain. “The nicest guy you would ever want to meet.”
“He was friendly - always,” said French Creek Township Secretary Sherian Biggs.
Dignall worked at Dignall’s Auto Parts, with his brother, Dennis, who lives above the store, and mother, Ruth, who was widowed when her husband, James E., died 16 months ago, Biggs said.
“He was a good family man,” she said, saying Dignall and his brother were very attentive to their elderly mother.
McClain called Dignall’s death “terrible” and a Cochranton business owner broke down when asked about Dignall and said she couldn’t talk about him then.
Obituary information was unavailable from Dickson Family
Funeral Home Inc. of Cochranton.
The Meadville Tribune contributed to this report.