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Charges filed in Monday homicide; man accused of shooting neighbor

A Spring Creek Township man is behind bars on a homicide charge in connection with allegedly shooting his neighbor in the abdomen during a dispute on Monday night.

Haggar Steven Brewer, Sr., 57, 24100 Cold Spring Rd., was charged by Warren-based Pennsylvania State Police this morning.

The victim is identified as 57-year-old Victor Vantassel, III. The incident occurred at 24110 Cold Spring Rd.

State Police received a report from Vantassel’s girlfriend stating that he had been shot, according to the affidavit of probable cause. She said Vantassel was in a verbal altercation that turned physical with Brewer.

She told police that Brewer “during the physical altercation was on top of Vantassel” and that “Brewer pulled a gun and fired the gun striking Vantassel in the abdomen area.”

Troopers with PSP-Warren’s Criminal Investigation Unit were dispatched to the residence.

While enroute along with EMS personnel, police say Brewer called 911 and that his call was forwarded to the Starbrick PSP barracks. Police say Brewer told them “Somebody attacked me in the yard and I shot him.”

EMS personnel attempted to provide treatment but Vantassel died at the scene.

Troopers then interviewed the girlfriend at the residence.

“She indicated that Brewer had approached her behind her house and started to yell at her” while Vantassel was asleep in the residence. She reported Vantassel woke up as a result of the shouting and “went out in the yard to see why Brewer was yelling at her.”

The girlfriend disclosed that the two men were yelling at each other in the yard before the dispute turned physical – she said she observed Brewer on top of Vantassel and “heard a shot and then Brewer walked away towards his residence.

“The victim was on the ground with a single shot to his abdomen area,” the affidavit states.

Brewer was subsequently arrested “on probable cause of a felony and transported to the Starbrick barracks where he agreed to be interviewed.

Police say he disclosed that Vantassel “had come at him and kicked his feet out from under him causing him to fall to the ground.

“Brewer told me,” the affidavit states, “that he was on his back and Vantassel tried to punch him twice which he blocked. Brewer then stated that Vantassel tried to punch him a third time and he drew his gun from his holster and shot Vantassel. Brewer told me that Vantassel had said he was going to ‘f— him up’ and he was worried that he was going to get hurt by Vantassel.

Brewer, police allege, said the entire incident lasted “about 30 seconds.” He also told police that Vantassel pushed him to the ground, which caused injury to his ribs.

State police were assisted by the Warren County District Attorney’s Office and Warren County Detectives.

District Attorney Rob Greene declined to comment Tuesday morning.

According to online court records, police charged him with one count of criminal homicide and he was arraigned by District Judge Todd Woodin at 3:30 a.m. this morning.

Bail was denied and Brewer is behind held at the Warren County Jail. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for April 6 at 1 p.m.

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