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Man uses sawed-off shotgun to kill Indiana County neighbor who was fighting with girlfriend, police say

| Monday, June 19, 2017, 12:03 p.m.

State police in Indiana County charged a Green Township man with killing his neighbor during a fight early Saturday.

According to a criminal complaint, a woman walked into the Lovejoy Road home of James Eugene Lantz, 27, shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday and said she'd been arguing next door with her boyfriend, Derrick Michael Davis.

She and Lantz went over to Davis' house, where Lantz and Davis started to fight outside — first verbally and then physically, police said. During the fight, Lantz allegedly pulled a sawed-off shotgun from a backpack he was carrying and shot Davis, 23, once in the chest before fleeing.

Indiana County Coroner Jerry L. Overman Jr. pronounced Davis dead at the scene at 2:14 a.m. An autopsy at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office ruled his death a homicide.

Police recovered the bag and shotgun not far from the scene. Several witnesses told police that Lantz texted them during the early morning hours to say he'd killed someone, according to the complaint.

He was taken into custody at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, interviewed and charged with homicide. He told police he'd intended to fire into the air or at Davis' feet but panicked when Davis came toward him, the complaint said.

State police also arrested Beverly Stewart, 32, on charges of public drunkenness after she allegedly showed up at the scene intoxicated and acted disorderly. The criminal complaint against Lantz identified her as Lantz's ex-girlfriend and one of the people he'd texted to say he'd shot someone.

Lantz was being held without bail at the Indiana County Prison. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 29 before District Judge Guy B. Haberl.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or on Twitter @msantoni.

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