Skip to comments.Two Dead in Shooting at Restaurant in Columbia County (Applebees in Northeast PA)
Posted on 05/23/2009 5:24:15 PM PDT by Born Conservative
Police have identified the two men who lost their lives Friday in the apparent murder-suicide at a restaurant in Columbia County.
Cleaning crews were still at Applebee's restaurant along Route 11 in Bloomsburg hours after two men were killed inside.
Investigators said 35-year-old Thomas Yurko of the Orangeville area walked in the restaurant just after 4 p.m. Friday and shot and killed Mark Wagner, 38, of Bloomsburg. Yurko then took his own life.
Officials said there were many employees and customers inside the restaurant at the time.
"When you go in and sit down to dinner, that would probably be the last thing that you thought of happening and I'm sure everybody at the restaurant was more than shocked," said Nancy Keskowski of Millville.
"Frightened and shocked. It's very, very hard to believe that this could happen in our small community that we live in, especially knowing the people that it happened to," said Jeanett DeBonis of Orangeville.
DeBonis has known the shooter, Thomas Yurko, for about 10 years. She has done business with him and his family and described him as friendly.
"I just can't believe it. I'm still kind of shocked that he would do this. That he was so unhappy that he couldn't handle this," added DeBonis.
Police have not said what led to the deadly shootings.
The president of the company that owns the Applebee's in Bloomsburg said the restaurant is doing everything it can to return to normal quickly.
"We're terribly saddened by what happened and our hearts go out to the families of the individuals. Certainly we're concerned about our employees. We're providing them counseling. Our concern is that they're okay and that we get through this together," said Jeff Warden with the Rose Group.
Warden said the Applebee's along Route 11 in Bloomsburg has been completely cleaned and sanitized. The restaurant reopened around 24 hours after the shootings.
The police initially thought there was a blue getaway car. My teen-aged son's friend happened to be driving a blue car in the area, was pulled over, told to get out of the car, put his hands behind is head, all while having 7 pistols and 3 shotguns aimed at him. The police apologized and explained the situation once they searched him and the car.
Why do these people choose public places to off themselves? Can’t they just stay at home and do it? No sarcasm intended.
That's crackerjack reporting right there. I would have expected Applebee's to just leave a mess right there in the dining area but, fortunately, the tv crew was right there to clear up any misconceptions.
How scary for your son. Were these PA State Police?
It is shocking that something like this could happen in the sleepy, beautiful college town of Bloomsburg, PA.
It was my son’s friend. I believe a combo of state troopers and locals.
Ha! That’s typical of Central PA’s TV news coverage. They are definitely amateurs.
Good thing I have cable and can get my news from other sources than WNEP.
Very shocking,especially in a town whose newspaper routinely reports citations for urinating in public.
I wonder what the motive was. A lover’s spat? A business argument? A triangle?
Bloomsburg has a wonderful live theater group, it has the Bloomsburg Fair,and it has great antique shops.
If you’re not safe there, you’re not safe anywhere.
I’m just glad the perp had good aim and did not kill any innocent bystanders, as often happens in larger towns with a different kind of population.
It could have been like this:
Ever since the massacre at Luby’s, I always sit facing the entrance and know where the exits are when I’m in a restaurant.
I’m guessing a couple of light in the loafers.
I was up early this AM, ready for a long day of gardening and lawn work at Mom’s. I stoppped at the local Denny’s on the way for some breakfast and coffee. The gal took me to a booth and set the menu down on the table and said she’s be right back with the coffee. She had positioned the menu on the table so that I would be seated with my back to the door of the restaurant. I sat on the opposite side of the booth and turne dthe menu around to face me.
When she returned with the coffee, she had this bewildered look on her face. She asked if there was something wrong and I replied.....”Never seat a single customer with their back to the door.” She asked if I was serious and I said I was.........
Or a wife screwing around and the husband blowing away the boyfriend? (PURE speculation)
Yes, but do those urinating fiends make the front page? A few days ago "Police arrest man urinating in bushes at the Sonic" screamed across the Front Page of our local paper.
I was at the buck horn truck stop on my way home up toward Benton.I never knew there was so many Freepers from columbia county PA
Because there is no mention of a dead wife, I’ll go with knarf, since we aren’t burdened with relevant facts.
Keep your back to the wall and your eye on the door.
While your at it, keep your hand on your holster.
I didn't recall this sad event so I followed the link. Turns out the perpetrator was from Pennsylvania.
There was a time when I was proud to be a Pennsylvanian.
I eat with both hands....
However, I am always aware of my surroundings.
I might be a bit leary of serving coffee to anyone who couldn’t keep their hand off their holster. The restaurant people have no idea if you plan to use the weapon for harm or for good unless you are also wearing a uniform and a badge.
Can’t disagree with you there. What do you do if the customer starts cleaning his pistol with his napkin? LOL
While I’m a Delawarean, I’ve friends up there and I’ve eaten there nearly a dozen times in recent years. Pity.
my niece went to Bloomsburg U.
“”When you go in and sit down to dinner, that would probably be the last thing that you thought of happening and I’m sure everybody at the restaurant was more than shocked,” said Nancy Keskowski of Millville.”
Alao, it’s sickening. In a Hollywood movie, a shooting are neat and sanitary. In real life, a shooting make a terible, bloody mess that’s revolting.
Sounds like the shooter planned on murder. He probably was a decent person and he felt he had to kill this person and then ended his life as punishment. Unless we found out the reason for the murder, all we can is guess.
Maybe there will be followup.
I’ll post a followup when available.
I didn’t get the local paper yet, but the headline is “Police: Jealousy Drove Killer” (online edition is subscription only).
He shot himself in the chin; I’m sure that was very messy.
Is she a nurse? Bloomsburg is known for its excellent Nursing Program.
I just heard on the local news that the two guys worked together in construction. It may have been a business dispute.
Also, the victim’s mom and sister were seated there in the booth with him! How awful!
Thanks for the update.
Wagner’s sister was sitting alongside him, and apparently a bullet just missed her.
The restaurant opened within 24 hours after the shooting; not sure if many customers showed up.