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Coroner’s office rules deaths in Perry Highway park and ride shooting as homicides

Jacob and Jenna Smith

The Butler County Coroner’s Office confirmed homicide was the cause of death for a married couple who allegedly shot at each other Monday, May 29, at a park and ride on Perry Highway in Muddy Creek Township.

Jessica McMurray, assistant deputy coroner, said Thursday, June 1, that Jacob Christian Smith, 31, died of a gunshot wound in the chest area, and Jenna Christine Smith, 28, died of multiple gunshot wounds in the chest area. The couple is from Pulaski Township, Lawrence County.

The autopsies were completed Tuesday.

Police said during their investigation, it was discovered that Jenna and Jacob were armed with pistols and exchanged gunfire inside the vehicle following an altercation.

First responders were dispatched after a passerby reported two gunshot-wound victims at the park and ride at 5:26 p.m.

According to state police, initial reports said Jenna was lying on the ground beside a Chrysler 300, bleeding and unresponsive. Jacob was found in the passenger seat, police said.

Though lifesaving measures were performed, both died at the scene, police said.

According to state police from New Castle, Jacob was reported missing April 12 by Jenna. Police said they believed at the time that he was suicidal.

Jenna posted on Facebook about Jacob’s disappearance, asking if he’d been seen at any vehicle dealerships.

“He sold both of his bikes to buy me the most perfect ring,” she wrote. “We’ve been looking for another bike.”

The search was canceled two days later, after Jacob had been located in Kentucky, according to reports from New Castle News.

According to obituary information from the Smith Funeral Home, Jacob was an operation engineer at Local 66.

According to obituary information from the Robert L. Snyder Funeral Home, Jenna, who’s maiden name is Pilgram, worked as an administrative assistant at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Jameson.

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