Northampton Press

Sunday, December 10, 2017
PRESS PHOTOS BY BERNIE O’HARENorthampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek rescued the family dog. PRESS PHOTOS BY BERNIE O’HARENorthampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek rescued the family dog.
Lehigh Township Chief of Police Scott Fogel discusses the case. Lehigh Township Chief of Police Scott Fogel discusses the case.

Bushkill Twp. man charged in Cherryville homicide

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE Special to The Press in Local News

Investigators believe financial dispute between family members led to shooting

John Michael Hann, 61, of Bushkill Township, was taken into custody Oct. 5 on charges of homicide and attempted homicide filed in connection with a shooting Oct. 4 in Lehigh Township.

Hann is accused of shooting and killing his cousin, Joseph F. Mullner, 64.

Mullner’s wife, Melinda, who called police 6:26 p.m. Oct. 4 to report what happened, was also shot.

She is currently hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

Lehigh Township police found her husband’s body in the driveway of their Longacre Drive home.

“We are hoping and praying she recovers,” said Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli during a news conference about the shooting late Oct. 5.

According to Coroner Zach Lysek, Mullner was shot five times and with two different handguns. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Lysek declined to provide additional details.

There was a third victim as well.

The Mullners’ dog was shot in the foot during the altercation and ran off. Lysek retrieved the dog later that night and took it to a veterinary hospital.

Lehigh Township Police Chief Scott Fogel said the Longacre Drive neighborhood where the shooting occurred is very quiet but added “something like this can happen anywhere.”

Police were unable to locate Hann at his Bushkill Township home. But Bethlehem Township police spotted Hann leaving a home on Lafayette Drive around 7 a.m. Oct. 5.

He was driving a dark-color pickup. His mentally challenged sister was with him, and investigators believe she was with him during the shooting as well.

Though Mullner refused to stop at first, he was surrounded by police cruisers.

“He wasn’t going anywhere,” Morganelli said.

A standoff ensued on Oakland Road, not far from several area schools. While state police negotiators spoke to Mullner, Bethlehem Township issued a Nixle alert to residents, warning them to “shelter in place” along Oakland Road arteries.

In addition to the Nixle alert, lockdowns went into effect at Freedom High School, East Hills Middle School, Bethlehem Vocational-Technical School and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

State police first convinced Hann to release his sister.

After several hours, the Nixle alert and lockdown were lifted when Hann surrendered around 10 a.m. Assisting Lehigh Township police at the scene were state police, Northampton Borough Police Department, Moore Township Police Department, Lehigh Township Fire Department, Lehigh Township Fire Police and Northampton Regional EMS.

Hann and his sister were taken to state police headquarters in Belfast for interviews.

According to Morganelli, the motive for the shooting is still unknown, but investigators believe there may have been a dispute between the cousins over financial issues.

Numerous weapons were found inside Hann’s truck, but police declined to say how many.