Year in Review – #5

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Murder, suicide at bait shop

By The Staff

On the morning of July 9, Ronnie William Cairnes Sr., 55, the operator of Cedar Creek Bait and Tackle Shop, was shot to death while standing outside his business at Blakley Crossroads, not far from the Chester County line.

His killer was Darren Winchester, 46, who lived across the road from the store.

Cairnes’ family said Winchester had threatened to harm Cairnes a number of times before. Winchester had also tried to set fire to Cairnes’ business, a brother of Cairnes said.

A vendor was at the store when Winchester fired shots and escaped without harm. He called 911.

After law enforcement arrived on the scene late in the morning, gun fire was exchanged between officers and Winchester, who by this time had barricaded himself inside his two-story house.

Sheriff’s deputies, police and officials with the State Law Enforcement Division were all on the scene, as were news helicopters, which hovered above.

At 3:40 p.m. that day, officers fired tear gas rounds into the house. When they went inside the house, they found Winchester dead. He had killed himself with a shotgun blast to the chest, according to authorities.