PENNSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A man killed six people as he weaved across the Philadelphia suburbs in a predawn rampage Monday and then holed up in a house, authorities said.
Bradley William Stone, 35, started at his ex-wife’s Harleysville apartment, breaking in through a glass door around 4 a.m., firing multiple rounds and fleeing with their two children, the woman’s neighbors said.
He then went to two nearby communities, where he killed five other people and severely wounded another person before holing up in a Pennsburg home, authorities said.
“She would tell anybody who would listen that he was going to kill her, and that she was really afraid for her life,” said Evan Weron, a neighbor of Stone’s ex-wife, Nicole Stone.
Stone had a “familial relationship” to all the victims, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said. The two children Stone took from his ex-wife’s house were safe, Ferman said.
Stone, about 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, was likely wearing military fatigues and was known to use a cane or walker, Ferman said.
The shootings occurred before dawn at homes in Harleysville, Lansdale and Souderton, which are within a few miles of each other.
Police with armored vehicles and rifles flocked to Pennsburg after spending several hours at the home in Souderton where several victims were found. In Pennsburg, police tried to compel his surrender with a bullhorn and loud explosions.
“Bradley, this is the police department!” officers yelled throughout the standoff. “Come to the front door with your hands up. You’re under arrest.”
In March 2009, Stone and his then-wife, Nicole, filed for divorce.
They recently sparred over custody of their two children, with Stone filing an emergency petition Dec. 5 and Nicole responding with a counterclaim Dec. 9, according to court records. The outcome of their dispute was not clear.
Nicole Stone’s neighbors say they were awoken by the sounds of breaking glass and gunshots.
Weron described Brad Stone as a former member of the military. He said Nicole Stone would talk frequently about the custody dispute.
“(Nicole) came into the house a few times, a few separate occasions, crying about how it was very upsetting to her,” Weron said.
Several school districts ordered students and teachers to shelter in place. The Souderton Area School District lifted the order after about two hours but said officials were monitoring the situation.
Dale and reported from Harleysville. Associated Press writer Kathy Matheson contributed from Souderton and Harleysville.
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