LEBANON, Pa. — A mother of three who became a voice of the gun-rights movement when she openly carried a loaded pistol to her daughter's soccer game was fatally shot along with her husband, a parole officer and former prison guard, in an apparent murder-suicide at their home.
Autopsies were planned Friday for Meleanie Hain, 31, and Scott Hain, 33, who were pronounced dead shortly after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at their brick home in this small city about 80 miles west of Philadelphia.
The couple's 10-year-old son and daughters ages 2 and 6 were home at the time, police said. The two older children ran outside and told neighbors that their father had shot their mother, neighbors said. The children are being cared for by neighbors and relatives.
Toys lay scattered across the corner lot Thursday in the tree-lined neighborhood where the family lived and where Meleanie ran a day care center. A car parked in the driveway bore a badge-shaped sticker that read "NRA law enforcement."
Worked as prison guard, parole officer
Scott Hain had worked in Reading as a parole officer for the state Board of Probation and Parole since August 2008. He previously was a guard at the Camp Hill state prison, the state Corrections Department said.
Neighbor Mark Long told The Patriot-News in Harrisburg that Meleanie Hain had baby-sat for his 3-year-old son and that the couple had been having marital problems for about a week.
Neighbor Aileen Fortna, 51, said that her husband noticed the two older Hain children running past their house and crying. She said the children told another neighbor that "daddy shot mommy."
Meleanie Hain always carried her holstered 9mm Glock pistol, even to the grocery store, and was holding a rifle while she talked to someone outside her house last week, Fortna said.
"I'm shocked at the whole thing," Fortna said. "I'm surprised she didn't defend herself."
Lebanon remained tightlipped Thursday, with Chief Daniel Wright saying only that the case was classified as a "death investigation" and that no one outside the home, or any of the children, is suspected of killing the couple.
Mike Witmer, a 32-year-old maintenance technician who lives across the street and about 50 yards from the Hains, said he was unloading groceries when he heard a commotion at their house. Shortly afterward, police swarmed through the neighborhood and told him to go inside.
He expressed concern for the children, saying: "I hope they're OK and they get through the hard times they're in for the rest of their lives."
"I'm a big hunter, and I support gun rights and I own guns," he said. "I just think sometimes guns get into the hands of the wrong people and tragedies happen."
Glock at a soccer game
Meleanie Hain made headlines after she attended her then 5-year-old daughter's soccer game in a park on Sept. 11, 2008, with her Glock holstered on her hip in plain view, upsetting other parents.
The county sheriff, Michael DeLeo, revoked her gun-carrying permit nine days later.
Hain successfully appealed the permit revocation, although the judge who restored the permit questioned her judgment and said she had "scared the devil" out of people.
Hain sued DeLeo in federal court , alleging that he violated her constitutional rights and prosecuted her maliciously when he took the permit away. She said that because of his actions her baby-sitting service had suffered, her children had been harassed and she had been ostracized by her neighbors in Lebanon, which has about 25,000 residents.
DeLeo said at Hain's appeal that he revoked her permit after fielding the parents' complaints. He said he based his decision on a state law that prohibits certain gun permits from being given to people whose character and reputation make them a danger to public safety.
After Hain sued DeLeo, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which says it tries to reform the gun industry through sensible regulations, offered to defend him for free.
"It is a case that calls out for common sense," Brady Center attorney Daniel Vice said then. "It's ridiculous to bring a gun to a child's soccer game."
Neighbor Debbie Mise said she was saddened by the sight of police leading the family's mastiff dog out of the house.
"When he came out, his poor head hung to the ground," she said. "My heart went out to that dog."