UPDATED: Man acquitted in 2017 city homicide one of two killed in Wednesday's Johnstown shootout, coroner says

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Aug. 26—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A city man who was acquitted in a 2017 murder and was linked to other incidents of violence was one of two who died Wednesday as the result of a shootout in Johnstown's Cambria City neighborhood.

Cambria County Coroner Jeffrey Lees said Ethan S. Williams, 22, of Johnstown, died at the scene on Broad Street from a single gunshot to the head.

Elliott D. Ruff Jr., 30, of Delaware County, died from massive blood loss in the operating room at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center with a gunshot to the lower torso, Lees said.

Lees, District Attorney Gregory Neugebauer, city police chief Richard Pritchard and three detectives spoke Friday at the coroner's office in downtown Johnstown where they identified the two men who died.

Shot each other

Williams and Ruff shot at each other from separate vehicles driving in the 800 block of Broad Street around 3 p.m. Three passengers in the vehicles were not injured and have not been charged.

Lees ruled the two deaths homicides — marking 10 homicides in Cambria County this year.

"We believe that Mr. Williams fired the shot that killed Mr. Ruff and Mr. Ruff fired the shot that killed Mr. Williams," Neugebauer said.

Police recovered a 9mm handgun fired by Williams and a .45 caliber handgun that Ruff tossed out of a car window.

The motive remained unclear Friday.

'Was quite chaotic'

Williams was driving a Kia south on Broad Street when Ruff, who was in town visiting a girlfriend, pulled a Toyota alongside and they exchanged gunfire.

Williams died instantly and crashed into a parked car. Ruff was driving himself to the hospital when he crashed on Dibert Street.

"It was quite chaotic," Pritchard said. "Mr. Ruff was in such grave condition that Capt. (Chad) Miller drove the ambulance to the hospital so that both medics could work on him.

"We had a lot of resources there," he said.

Neugebauer credit residents with providing tips.

"The community absolutely stepped up," he said. "We had witnesses come forward and call in tips and businesses provided video.

"When you come forward you can absolutely help us solve crimes," he said.

Williams and Ruff had criminal records.

Williams was charged with criminal homicide in the Dec. 3, 2017 shooting death of 18-year-old Tavion C. Williamson in Hornerstown. A Cambria County jury found him not guilty following a trial in July 2020.

Williams was awaiting trial on assault and weapon charges, accused of firing a handgun at an SUV on Cedar Street in December 2020.

Police said they have not closed the book on Williams.

"Mr. Williams was a person of interest in several violent crimes," Neugebauer said. "If you have information relative to any of those we ask that you come forward. Maybe we can get closure for other victims."

Ruff served prison time with guilty pleas in Delaware County to DUI, drug possession and assault, online court records show.