(Reuters) – Pennsylvania police on Tuesday searched for an Iraq war veteran suspected of killing six family members, including his 14-year-old niece, in a shooting spree in communities near Philadelphia.
The hunt for Bradley William Stone, 35, was focused around Pennsburg, about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Philadelphia, where residents were advised to stay inside with their doors locked, the Montgomery County district attorney said.
Stone, who lives in Pennsburg, was a suspect in the shooting deaths on Monday of his ex-wife, her mother, grandmother, sister and two other family members, District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman told journalists.
“As we stand here right now, we don’t know where he is,” she said.
Stone took his two young daughters from his ex-wife’s house but left them safe with a neighbor, Ferman said.
It was Pennsylvania’s second recent high-profile manhunt after a seven-week chase to capture survivalist Eric Frein, 31, accused of killing a state trooper in a sniper attack in September outside a state police barracks.
Ferman said Stone sometimes uses a cane or walker, but it was not clear if he needed them to get around.
Upper Perkiomen schools in the Pennsburg area were closed on Tuesday, the district said.
The search for Stone turned on Monday evening to neighboring Bucks County, where a man walking his dog was confronted by a knife-carrying man who tried to take his car keys.
The dog walker was armed and fired several shots at the suspect. Police in Doylestown Township, about 24 miles from Pennsburg, say the man fit Stone’s description.
Media reported Stone suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He enlisted with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in 2002, was deployed to Iraq at least once and was honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant in 2011, according to military spokesman Captain Dustin Pratico.
He was believed to have gone on a shooting spree in three towns, first killing his ex-wife’s sister, husband and 14-year-old daughter in Souderton around 3:30 a.m., the district attorney said. A 17-year-old son survived but was wounded and hospitalized, she said.
About an hour later, a 911 call pointed police to a house in Lansdale, Ferman said. There they found Stone’s former mother-in-law and former grandmother-in-law dead, she said.
Police then received an emergency call from a neighbor of Stone’s ex-wife Nicole, 33, in Lower Salford, Ferman said. Police found her shot to death, she said.
(Pennsylvania Shooter News – Additional reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Eric Johnson and Barbara Goldberg)