The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

December 11, 2013

Official rules deaths murder, suicide

SOUTH PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP, HERMITAGE — The deaths of two South Pymatuning Township men on Monday were ruled a murder-suicide, according to Mercer County Deputy Coroner John Libonati.

Libonati said a single gunshot to the back killed Michael Eugene DeLong, 53, of 1367 Buckeye Drive.

The death of Sandy Joseph Hoffman, 50, of the same address, was ruled a suicide after police found his body in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Hermitage, where his parents are buried. He apparantly shot himself in the chest, Libonati said.

“Ruling on both is based on the evidence and the assessment of both at this point in the investigation,” Libonati said.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, Hoffman called 911 and told dispatchers he shot a man “in self-defense” and told police he would be in the cemetery, which is about a mile from the home where the shooting occurred.

DeLong was pronouced dead at 3:24 p.m. inside the Buckeye Drive home and Hoffman was pronounced dead at 3:52 p.m in the cemetery, police said.

DeLong is formerly from Sharpsville and found his way back to the area after living in various places around the country, police said.

A self-employed contractor, DeLong was staying with Hoffman in exchange for doing work on his house.

Libonati and police said they will have no more information to share until all evidence is gathered.

“There is every indication that this is an isolated incident,” Libonati said. “We just have to make sure we gather everything to make a determination on who did what.”


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