Meanwhile, an armored fare collection vehicle had arrived at the interchange. Once outside, Briggs allegedly killed Daniel Crouse, a 55-year-old Turnpike toll collector, and Ronald Heist, a 72-year-old security guard for the collection vehicle. He then began firing at the collection vehicle as its driver fled.
Briggs then got behind the wheel and drove the vehicle a short distance to his own car, which he allegedly started loading with stolen money. But state troopers soon arrived on the scene, and exchanged fire with Briggs, killing him.
“Today we lost two members of the Turnpike family and extended family in a hold-up attempt,” Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chairman Sean Logan said Sunday at a press conference, as PennLive reported.
Another toll collector who witnessed the shooting was not named by police.
“She’s a tough woman … we told her to take a day or two off but I’m sure she will be back at work soon,” Logan said, as PublicOpinion reported. “We have a family that is resilient, and we will get through this.”
The Fort Littleton turnpike interchange, 65 miles west of Harrisburg.
Little was immediately known about Briggs’s motive in the alleged shootings. The Associated Press reported he retired in 2012 with an honorable discharge after 26 years of service.
Heist was a Schaad Detective Agency security guard working for the Turnpike, as well as a former police officer in York, Pa.
“This is the work we know and Ron went off to work in security,” York City Police Chief Wes Kahley Kahley said. “Our hearts go out to the family and we pray from them and for Ron. He’s going to be missed.”
Of Heist’s decision to go into security work, Bruce Veseth, the president of the Association of Retired York City Police Officers, said: “It’s just something in your blood and something that you kind of do.”
Crouse was a new Turnpike employee, on the job for less than three months, according to Fox43.
Turnpike Commission Chairman Logan said that Fort Littleton is one of the 360-mile road’s least busy interchanges, and that such robbery attempts are very rare.
“Our system is very secure, very safe,” he said. “We just want to make sure if there’s more we can do that we will do it.”
“What happened this morning was tragic and a senseless act of violence, and the victims and their families and colleagues are in Frances’ and my thoughts and prayers,” Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said in a statement, as WCNC reported.
This story has been updated.