Police: Smicksburg man, 32, charged in fatal shooting

NORTH MAHONING TOWNSHIP — A 32-year-old Smicksburg man has been charged with criminal homicide for allegedly fatally shooting his estranged father-in-law, according to Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police and the Indiana County Coroner’s office.

Shaun C. Fairman was also charged with aggravated assault and a firearms violation in the death of Richard E. Shotts, 55, Rural Valley, police reported.

According to a release from the office of Indiana County Coroner Michael A. Baker, Shotts was killed in the North Mahoning Township home of his daughter, Jessica Fairman, just before 1 a.m. Sunday.

Jessica Fairman shot at Shaun Fairman twice, wounding him, after he entered the home after allegedly shooting her father, Baker's office reported.

Shotts died of a single gunshot wound to the neck and was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday by Baker, who said an autopsy was
scheduled at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office in Pittsburgh.

According to Baker's release:
Early Sunday morning, Shaun Fairman was reportedly brandishing a 30-06 rifle and a handgun at Jessica Fairman’s residence when he was confronted near the kitchen window by Shotts, who was attempting to protect his family. Shotts apparently attempted to diffuse the situation and talk to Fairman, but when Shotts placed his own weapon in his pocket, Fairman immediately raised the handgun and shot him through the window, the coroner’s office reported.

Jessica Fairman, her mother and her children were also in the residence at the time. Jessica Fairman's mother and children hid in the attic, while she reportedly took refuge in a second-story bedroom, and Shaun Fairman went room to room looking for her.

Jessica Fairman fired twice at Shaun Fairman as he approached the room where she was hiding. He was later taken by ambulance to Punxsutawney Area Hospital, where he was treated and released into the custody of state police.

Baker said Shaun Fairman had been served with a protection from abuse order around May 22, and had received notification of divorce proceedings just hours before entering the residence with the weapons.

Shotts' wife, Candice Shotts, told Baker the family was fearful of Shaun Fairman, and she and her husband decided to spend two nights in Jessica Fairman's home to protect the family from harm.

Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty has scheduled a news conference for noon today at the Indiana-based Pennsylvania State Police station.