Philadelphia police responded to an Upper Roxborough home Saturday morning after a report of gunshots being fired. When they arrived about 5:20 a.m., they heard more gunshots and saw muzzle flash in front of the house, Police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan said.
Then, all was quiet.
Police set up a barricade outside the house on the first block of River Road. They evacuated houses north on River Road and "conducted a protective sweep of the block to make sure" the gunman wasn't outside, Sullivan said. They used a loudspeaker on an armored vehicle to try to communicate with the shooter.
During the five-hour barricade, with police SWAT and Fire Department vehicles in the area, SEPTA suspended its Manayunk/Norristown Regional Rail Line because of the police activity. Some neighbors were told to stay in their homes. The police Marine Unit also was called to the scene to check if the gunman had fled to the nearby Schuylkill.
Then, not sure what, if anything, was happening inside the house, police sent in a robot through a window, Sullivan said. The robot, which had a camera, showed the man "was down," Sullivan said.
Police then went inside the house shortly after 10 a.m. and saw that the man had shot himself dead in the head.
Sullivan declined to name the man because he died from a suicide. He said the man was 54 years old and had a large number of registered firearms in his house.
It wasn't clear what the man was firing at when he was initially shooting, Sullivan said. He said he spoke to two neighbors who said the man "had outstanding emotional problems and a penchant for firearms."