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Man charged in Lehigh Township shooting

Wife, dog, also shot in Lehigh Township

John Michael Hann, 61, was arraigned Thursday afternoon on charges of homicide and attempted homicide in connection with a shooting in Lehigh Township on Wednesday night.

Hann is accused of shooting and killing his cousin, Joseph F. Mullner, 64.

Mullner’s wife Melinda, who called police at 6:26 p.m. on Wednesday to report what had happened, was also shot.

She is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

Lehigh Township police found her husband’s body in the driveway of their Longacre Drive home.

“We are hoping and praying that she recovers,” said Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli during a news conference about the shooting late Thursday.

According to Coroner Zach Lysek, Mullner was shot five times, and by two different handguns. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Lysek declined to provide additional details.

The Mullners’ pet dog was also shot in the foot during the altercation and ran off.

Lysek was able to retrieve the dog later that night, and took it to a veterinary hospital.

Lehigh Township Police Chief Scott Fogel said that the Longacre Drive neighborhood where the shooting occurred is very quiet, but “something like this can happen anywhere.”

Police were unable to locate Hann at his Bushkill Township home. But on Thursday, Bethlehem Township police spotted Hann leaving a home on Lafayette Drive around 7 a.m. He was driving a dark-colored pickup. His mentally challenged sister was with him, and investigators believe she was with him during the shooting as well.

Though Hann refused to stop at first, he was surrounded by police cruisers.

“He wasn’t going anywhere,” said District Attorney John Morganelli.

A standoff ensued on Oakland Road, not far from several area schools.

While state police negotiators spoke to Mullner, Bethlehem Township issued a Nixle Alert to residents, warning them to “shelter in place” along Oakland Road arteries. In addition to the Nixle alert, lockdowns went into effect at Freedom High School, East Hills Middle School, Bethlehem Vocational-Technical School and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

State police at first convinced Hann to release his sister.

After several hours, the Nixle alert and lockdown were lifted when Hann surrendered.

Hann and his sister were taken to state police headquarters in Belfast for interviews.

Hann was arraigned and bail was denied.

According to Morganelli, the motive for the shooting is still unknown, but investigators believe there may have been a dispute between the cousins over financial issues.

Numerous weapons were found inside Hann’s truck, but police declined to say how many.

Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek rescued the family dog. BERNIE O’HARE/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Lehigh Township Chief of Police Scott Fogel discusses the case.