Dusenbury, coroner since 1984, said he was shaken by the “unprecedented” tragedy and prayed the family, community and church would recover. “I’ve never encountered anything quite like it; it’s terrible,” he said.
In addition to her church duties, Sitler taught music at the Northern Potter Children’s School for 30 years. The elementary school is in a district that neighbors the Coudersport Area School District where her ex-husband taught since 1986.
“She’s just the consummate professional,” Northern Potter Superintendent Scott Graham told The Associated Press on Monday. “The kids loved her. She just did so many things here for the school and the community.”
The Northern Potter School District is based in the tiny borough of Ulysses, near the New York border.
Sitler taught music to all students in the Pre-K through sixth-grade school and also headed the chorus and band for fifth- and sixth-graders so the staff and students throughout the district knew her well, Graham said. She graduated from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, where spokesman Martin Parkes said she was a regular donor to the school’s music program. She graduated in 1981 with a degree in music education.
Crisis counselors from surrounding districts and a member of the local pastors’ ministerium were at the North Potter district Monday.
Graham said the couple had been divorced for years and offered no rationale for the shooting. Police wouldn’t discuss a motive, except to say it didn’t appear the couple’s divorce was related to the shooting. The Potter County prothonotary’s office shows the couple filed for divorce in April 2010 and it was granted that August.
Superintendent Alanna Huck, who heads the Coudersport Area School District where Eldred taught, issued a statement expressing condolences to Sitler’s family and school district.
“There are no words that explain this event, however we will focus on moving forward and taking care of those students who are entrusted to our care each day,” the statement said.
Eldred also played clarinet for the Southern Tier Symphony Orchestra in Allegany, N.Y.