The gunman killed by police after he shot at them from a Frankford rowhouse on Thursday was on probation for a firearms conviction in Rhode Island and was wanted for potential parole violations related to a domestic violence incident, authorities said Friday.
When Pennsylvania state parole officers approached Claude Fain, 47, outside his house on the 4600 block of Hawthorne Street, near Orthodox Street, he “immediately fled toward his residence and stated, ‘I’m going to kill all three of you [expletives]!’” Philadelphia Police said in a statement.
Fain then went inside and opened fire, police said. He kept officers at bay for nearly two hours, intermittently firing from a second-floor window perch, until he was struck by bullets from a SWAT officer’s rifle.
Details released by police and gleaned from court records Friday offered a more complete picture of an incident reminiscent of the violent standoff in Tioga last August, when Maurice Hill, 36, allegedly shot at police for nearly seven hours from inside a rowhouse, hitting six officers, before finally surrendering.
No one other than Fain was reported injured in Friday’s shootout, but the chaotic scene had officers scrambling for cover behind cars and buildings, sent five neighboring schools into “lock-in” status, and spurred residents to cower in their homes.
Police said Friday that they recovered at least 13 fired cartridge casings from Fain’s home, and that 11 law enforcement officers — two state parole officers and nine city cops — returned fire. They did not reveal further details about what precipitated the visit by the parole agents.
Court filings in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island show a complicated history of arrests generally tied to a case that originated in 2009 in Cranston, R.I., a suburb of Providence.
In that incident, Fain was charged with kidnapping, assault, and resisting arrest. Most of the charges were dismissed as part of his guilty plea to carrying a gun without a license and using it in a violent crime, which earned him a 10-year probation sentence, the records show.
Around the same time, Fain was arrested twice in Pennsylvania, court records show, and spent months in Graterford Prison in 2013 and again in 2014, as authorities in Rhode Island sought to hold him in violation of his probation.
On Hawthorne Street, neighbors struggled to reconcile the idea that the man who had lived there and owned a rowhouse for more than a decade was capable of Thursday’s violence.
Bonique Scott, who said she is Fain’s aunt and lives around the corner, said she was with him shortly before the shooting began. Scott, 51, huddled in an alley while Fain and authorities exchanged gunfire.
She said Fain suffered from depression and anxiety, but was holding a job with a cleaning service. She also said he had a long-term girlfriend and an infant child.
“He loved kids,” Scott said. “He was a great person.”
Court records show that Fain’s mental condition had come to the attention of authorities in the past. A Rhode Island judge convened a mental competency hearing before deciding Fain could be prosecuted.
Everene William, who lives on the Hawthorne Street block, said she had never seen Fain carry a weapon but said he had shown signs of mental illness in recent days.
“He’s been going up and down the street talking crazy,” she said. “He said there’s people watching him.”
But while Fain could seem “defiant” or “agitated” at times, he was generally quiet and peaceful, said Lorenzo Compton, 55, who said he knew him for more than a decade.
“I wish," he added, “it could have ended a different way.”