Victim Of Rampage Recalls Shotgun Attack — (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

SSRI Ed note: Man prescribed antidepressant for grief starts acting crazy, paranoid, resigns pressman job, shoots ex girlfriend, three others at newspaper.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer, (PA)

Sunday, March 31, 1991

Author: Jeffrey Fleishman and Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writers Staff Writers Karl Stark and Gary Cohn contributed to this article.

Sharon Zorger said the man she tried to save from loneliness shot her legs full of birdshot and left her bleeding in the street as he drove off into the night on a rampage that police said left three others wounded.

Zorger lay in the Delaware Valley Medical Center in Bucks County yesterday, trying to explain the apparently misguided jealously that she said caused her estranged boyfriend, Robert C. Rovinski, 43, to shoot her early Friday and then drive to the Bucks County Courier Times newspaper and shoot three others before being arrested.

Rovinski, charged Friday with four counts of attempted murder, was being held in Bucks County Prison after failing to post $1 million bail.

From her hospital bed, Zorger said yesterday that she was driving home from work about 3 a.m. Friday when Rovinski’s car blocked hers at a stop sign in Levittown near her house.

“I saw the shotgun in his hand,” she said. “He opened the door and said, ‘Get out.’ I kept asking what he was doing, what’s the matter. He said, ‘My house is on fire and I’m going back to jail. . . . Then he told me to ‘run or pray – I’m going to kill you.’ Then he started shooting me. I fell to the ground and played dead.”

She crawled to a neighbor’s front steps until an ambulance came. She said she wondered how a man who was an avowed, born-again Christian could raise a gun in anger. Just a few months earlier he had talked about the importance of Jesus to a group of teenagers at a local church, urging them to reject crime and violence in favor of faith.

According to police, Rovinski, who was taking medication for depression, reloaded the gun and headed to the newspaper. He had resigned as a pressman just two hours earlier after seeing another man put his arm around Zorger, police said.

Rovinski arrived at the newspaper about 3:15 a.m. The presses were roaring and no one heard the first shotgun blast, according to pressman Joseph Sytnik, who witnessed the shootings. That blast, Sytnik said, was fired from the smoking lounge into the plate room and struck Robert Johnson, 49, in the right leg.

Rovinski then walked into the pressroom, which was busy cranking out the next day’s paper.

“He appeared like a ghost,” Sytnik said. “He raised the gun and told me to get out of the way. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to shoot me,” he said. Rovinski fired at the legs of Francis Mitchell, 60. Mitchell went down and Rovinski, Sytnik said, headed toward the back of the building toward security guard Scott Allen. According to other accounts, Mitchell was shot first, then Johnson.

“Bobby was mad at Allen,” Sytnik said. “Allen had written Bobby up for smoking in a no-smoking area.” Allen was the fourth person that Rovinski shot in the legs, according to police. Zorger, Mitchell and Johnson were recovering in local hospitals yesterday, and Allen had been released.

Friends said Rovinski had been depressed and lonely since his wheelchair bound wife, Susan, died two years ago of multiple sclerosis.  Zorger said she dated him for a while but then called it off “when he started acting crazy. He was on medication and that made it worse and he couldn’t afford the $100 a week to see his psychiatrist.”

Sytnik said that on the night of the shootings, a fellow employee put a friendly arm around Zorger while Rovinski watched through a window. “His face crinkled up; I could tell he was mad.”
Record Number: 9101190595
Copyright (c) 1991 The Philadelphia Inquirer