Neither funeral nor service arrangements have yet to be finalized after the Lower Providence Township Police Department (LPPD) recently released the name of the victim in the Wednesday afternoon shooting on the property of the township and police administration building at 100 Parklane Drive.
Officer Mark F. Wells, a 25-year veteran of the LPPD, was the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Wells shot himself with his department-issued handgun while seated in his vehicle, a green Chevy TrailBlazer, while on duty Wednesday around 2:33 p.m.
“Ofc. Wells was discovered seated in his personal vehicle in the lower parking lot of the police station,” said LPPD Chief Francis Bud Carroll in a recent release to the press. “Ofc. Wells was pronounced deceased at the scene.”
Carroll said that Wells was working on a shift from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and was still on the clock at the time of the apparent suicide. An autopsy was ordered by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. Thursday calls from LP TAP to the coroner have not yet been returned, though the autopsy was to be completed Thursday.
Due to the nature of the incident, Carroll had requested that the full investigation be handled by the Detective Bureau of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. The coroner’s office removed the body, which was pronounced dead at the scene, from the parking lot around 4:40 p.m. Thursday evening.
Carroll said that Wells was a long-time employee of the township.
“Ofc. Wells began his employment with Lower Providence Township on June 19, 1989 as a Police Dispatcher,” he said. “Mark assumed the responsibility for training a number of newly hired dispatchers and was designated as the department’s Terminal Agency Coordinator (TAC) and was responsible for ensuring compliance with all requirements for the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network (CLEAN) system. Mark attended the Montgomery County Municipal Police Academy and graduated in June of 1999.”
For over 14 years, Wells had served on the LPPD.
“Mark was sworn as a police officer with Lower Providence Township on July 20, 2000,” said Carroll. “He had been assigned to the Patrol Division until his assignment in 2010 as the Administrative Officer for the department. In April of 2013, he assumed the responsibilities of the Accreditation Manager for the department’s accreditation through the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (PLEAC). Mark attended training in Advanced Accident Investigation, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Alcohol Breath Testing Devices and had the responsibility for the calibration and certification of the department’s breath testing equipment.”
Throughout his service, Wells was highly regarded, according to Carroll.
“Mark had received the department’s highest award, the Commendation for Valor, and has received numerous letters of commendation for his actions over the course of his career,” said the chief.
He was also no stranger to the local area.
“Mark was a graduate of Methacton High School,” said Carroll. “He had previously served as a volunteer firefighter with the Lower Providence Volunteer Fire Company and also held the post of Recording Secretary for the fire company.”
Being so close to the victim himself, it was difficult for Carroll to release a statement. Thursday evening around 7:45 p.m., he stated the following to LP TAP via email.
“I had the distinct honor and pleasure of working with Mark throughout his entire career with the Lower Providence Township Police Department,” said Carroll. “His commitment and dedication to Lower Providence Township was evident every single day. His love for being a police officer was only surpassed by his love of his family, particularly his wife, Shannon, and his daughter, Meghan, of whom no father was prouder of any child.”
The chief noted that this will be a major loss beyond the department’s team of officers.
“This is an indescribable loss for Mark’s family, our department and our Township,” said Carroll. “We ask that everyone keep Mark’s family in their thoughts and prayers and honor their privacy in this most difficult time for them.”
A trust account has been established in memory of Ofc. Mark F. Wells. Donations may be made to: Wells Family Education Fund, c/o Penn Liberty Bank, 2724 Ridge Pike Trooper, Pa. 19403.
Funeral arrangements have not been finalized at the time of this writing and will be released at a later date.