Photo: Isabella Hain, 5, gives her mother, Meleanie Hain, who is wearing a loaded Glock 26, a hug before heading onto the soccer field.
(AP/Lebanon Daily News)
LEBANON, Pa. (CBS/AP) Pennsylvania mom Meleanie Hain believed so strongly in the right to bear arms that she gained national notoriety for packing a pistol to her 5-year-old daughter's soccer game and later sued the sheriff who revoked, albeit temporarily, her license to carry. Her car had a National Rifle Association bumper sticker that read "NRA law enforcement."
But guns didn't save Meleanie Hain.
She and her husband, Scott Hain, a parole officer, were found shot to death Wednesday inside their home in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Their three young children were unharmed.
Now, police are trying to unravel exactly what happened in the apparent murder-suicide. According to neighbors, the children have said their father shot their mother.
Autopsy results are expected later today.
Police Chief Daniel Wright said he planned to disclose more about the case following autopsies, which are expected to be performed Friday.
The couple's children were at a nearby house when police arrived Wednesday night to answer 911 calls from neighbors, Wright said.
Meleanie Hain's mother, Jenny Stanley, told WGAL-TV that the children, ages 2, 6 and 10, were "hanging in there."
"I'm devastated," Stanley said. "I lost my daughter. I lost my best friend. The children lost their parents."
Photo: Meleanie Hain in 2008.
(AP/Lebanon Daily News, Jim Zengerle)
Neighbors said the Hains were not outgoing people, and several said Meleanie Hain wore her holstered gun regularly when walking the dog or going to the grocery store. They said the children ran outside Wednesday night and reported that their father had shot their mother, but Wright declined to disclose what investigators have concluded about how the deaths occurred or what the children saw.
Aileen Fortna, who lives two doors away, said her husband noticed the two oldest children running past their house and crying. She watched as authorities removed the Hains' dead bodies overnight.
Fortna said the children told another neighbor that "daddy shot mommy." A police chaplain answered the door at that neighbor's home Thursday and declined to comment.
"I'm shocked at the whole thing," Fortna said. "I'm surprised she didn't defend herself."
Wright said more than one weapon was recovered from the home. He acknowledged reports that the couple might have been having marital difficulties.
Meleanie Hain, who ran a baby-sitting service, became a voice of the gun rights movement in 2008 when she attended a soccer game of her daughter, then 5, at a park with a Glock handgun holstered on her hip in plain view.
Nine days later, the sheriff revoked her license to carry and conceal a gun, citing a state law that prohibits certain gun permits from being given to people whose character and reputation make them a danger to public safety.
A county judge overturned that decision but questioned Hain's judgment and said she had "scared the devil" out of people at the Sept. 11, 2008, game.
Hain claimed the sheriff's actions destroyed her baby-sitting service, resulted in her children being harassed and made her feel ostracized by her neighbors in Lebanon, which has about 25,000 residents.
The Hains filed a federal lawsuit against Sheriff Michael DeLeo and the county, alleging he violated Meleanie Hain's constitutional rights and prosecuted her maliciously. The suit was pending when she died. Her attorney, Matthew Weisberg, said he hopes to continue the litigation.
Weisberg said Hain told him about six months ago she and her husband, who was 33, had separated and three months ago she wanted to pursue a protective order against him. He said she wanted to have her husband's name removed from the lawsuit but that never happened.
"Whether they'd reconciled in the last couple of months, I don't know," Weisberg said.