April 17th, 2024

Man suspected of killing 3 people in Philadelphia area arrested in New Jersey, police say

By Mike Catalini And Ron Todt, The Associated Press on March 16, 2024.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – A man suspected of killing three people in their Philadelphia-area homes Saturday was later arrested in New Jersey’s capital city following a major police response and hourslong standoff, authorities said.

Steve Wilson, police director for the city of Trenton, said the man was found near a house were he was believed to have barricaded himself and was taken into custody. He apparently escaped the perimeter around the home before it was set up, according to Wilson.

Wilson added that he did not believe the suspect was armed at the time. No one else was injured.

The suspect was identified earlier as 26-year-old Andre Gordon Jr. Authorities said they believe he killed his stepmother, his teenage sister and the mother of his children in shootings that stretched into two homes in eastern Pennsylvania’s Falls Township in the morning, Bucks County District Attorney Jennifer Schorn said.

Officials said they couldn’t yet speak to a motive for the attacks. While Gordon had had some minor brushes with the law, they were “nothing that would indicate that anything like this would happen,” Falls Township Police Chief Nelson Whitney said at a news conference.

Police said Gordon was believed to be homeless. It was unclear whether he had an attorney or anyone else who could comment on his behalf.

The mayhem forced the cancellation of a St. Patrick’s Day parade and shut down a Sesame Street-themed amusement park. Authorities in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County issued a shelter-in-place order for some areas for several hours.

After fleeing in a stolen car, then taking another in a carjacking in a store parking lot, Gordon went to the home in nearby Trenton, authorities said. By midafternoon, officers surrounded the house on a taped-off block, calling to Gordon through a loudspeaker and trying to persuade him to come out.

“Andre, get away from the windows. If you would like to surrender, dial 911 now,” one message went.

Neighbors gathered by the barricade to watch what was happening. The home’s residents had been taken to safety with no injuries, the Trenton Police Department said.

Schorn said police believe Gordon first broke into a home in the Falls Township community of Levittown and killed his 52-year-old stepmother, Karen Gordon, and his 13-year-old sister, Kera Gordon. Three other occupants, including a 14-year-old, hid as the suspect went through the house, searching for them, the district attorney said.

She said police believe Gordon then drove to another home in Levittown and shot and killed 25-year-old Taylor Daniel, the mother of his two children, who were there. The victim’s mother was bludgeoned with a rifle, Schorn said. Police said the injured woman is expected to recover.

Shaun Murphy, who lives in Levittown, said he was headed to the local St. Patrick’s Day parade when he saw that the road had been blocked.

“All the neighbors were outside wondering what was going on, and then we got the notice about shelter in place,” Murphy said, recalling that he and his neighbors had just been talking the night before about “how great of a town and how great of a neighborhood it is.”

Schorn said officers believe that after the shootings, Gordon carjacked a vehicle in a parking lot in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, from a 44-year-old man who wasn’t harmed. From there, officials said, Gordon drove to the home in Trenton.

Police in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania, said the suspect has ties to addresses in Bucks County and Trenton and “stays in Trenton primarily.”

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Todt reported from Philadelphia. Associated Press journalists Matt Rourke in Trenton, New Jersey; Freida Frisaro in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Jennifer Peltz in New York contributed.

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