A federal appeals court has tossed out a lawsuit that sought to hold officials in Ross Township, Pennsylvania, liable for a shooting at a 2013 township meeting that left three people dead and several others injured.

The lawsuit claimed township officials had a legal duty to protect the residents from the gunman.

Rockne Newell, who had been feuding with the township, sprayed bullets into the meeting room in the Ross Township Municipal Building. He was angry over the loss of his junk-filled property after a lengthy court battle with the township. He is now serving a life sentence.

A lower court judge ruled last year that township officials weren’t liable because they had no knowledge Newell would open fire. The appeals court in Philadelphia agreed.

In its ruling, The Pocono Record (http://bit.ly/2ur724f ) reported Thursday, the appeals court said it did not mean to “diminish the devastation wreaked by this unspeakably horrifying, senseless, and tragic act of violence.”