Leechburg couple recounts horror of Monday shooting
Janelle Stankiewicz and Dennis Gronski II don’t know why an armed man shot his way into their Leechburg home early Monday or what might have happened if the man hadn’t died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in their kitchen.
Stankiewicz said she does know the incident will be hard to put out of her mind.
“I don’t know how I’m going to ever make dinner in that kitchen again,” Stankiewicz, 30, said as she sat beside her boyfriend outside their house at the corner of Logan Avenue and Pitt Street.
“All we know is we were blessed. … What we don’t know is what would have happened if he walked into the living room where my mother, Diane (Stankiewicz), and my 8-year-old son were sleeping,” Stankiewicz said.
Authorities said Jonathan Paul Kulick, 37, of Leechburg fired multiple 9 mm gunshots into the rear door of the couple’s house to get inside about 3 a.m.
State police said Kulick dropped the semiautomatic pistol and then used a larger-caliber revolver he was carrying to shoot himself in the head. He died at the scene.
Both pistols were legally registered to Kulick, police said.
Armstrong County Coroner Brian K. Myers ruled Kulick’s death a suicide.
Stankiewicz described Kulick as an acquaintance from the neighborhood.
“Knowing who it was and not a complete stranger seems to makes it harder,” Stankiewicz said.
Stankiewicz and Gronski, 28, said they have been working to turn their living room into space for her mother, who is recovering from back surgery. They also have been remodeling the kitchen.
On Tuesday afternoon, the couple sat on their front steps and talked with Stankiewicz’s sister, Erin Sprankle, as a cleanup crew worked to remove physical traces of what happened early Monday from the kitchen.
“We can redo the kitchen,” Gronski said. “We will get past this.”
Sprankle said she went to school with a longtime girlfriend of Kulick and knew him as friendly and personable.
“The John who I saw at the back door Monday wasn’t the John we knew,” Stankiewicz interjected.
Stankiewicz, Gronski and a friend had been in the garage at the time of the shooting.
“Dennis and a friend were working on a dirt bike and a car. We were all talking. Then there were shots,” Stankiewicz said. “We all hit the dirt and listened. We didn’t hear voices, nothing. We were in panic mode.”
The friend, a burly man known to Stankiewicz’s son as “Uncle Big,” ran to the front door and pushed it open. He saw that Stankiewicz’s son and mother were unharmed.
Not knowing whether someone else was in the house, Gronski said he asked Stankiewicz to call police. Police had everyone wait in the garage while officers searched the house, then took them to the police station after determining Kulick was dead and no one else was inside.
“This is something that you never expect to happen to you,” Stankiewicz said.