DA: Ex-wife, her family members killed by military veteran and suspect Bradley William Stone in Montco murder spree
Authorities are still searching for the gunman who left six people dead in three Montgomery County shootings this morning.
Authorities are still searching for the gunman who left six people dead in three Montgomery County shootings this morning, but a SWAT team has stormed a Pennsburg home in search of the suspect.
The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said police are looking for 35-year-old Bradley William Stone, of Pennsburg, in the killings. Another was seriously wounded, officials said.
All of the victims have a "familial relationship" to Stone, prosecutors said. They were identified at a 6 p.m. press conference as Stone's ex-wife, her sister and her sister's husband, the sister's teenage daughter, Stone's former mother-in-law and a grandmother. A teenage son of the ex-wife's sister was injured in the mayhem that occurred at two separate homes in two towns early this morning.
Montgomery County Court records show Stone had been entangled in divorce proceedings with his wife, Nicole A. Stone, since early 2009. The divorce was finalized in December 2012. Less than two weeks ago, he filed an emergency motion for custody.
The hunt for Stone has moved to Pennsburg after a siege in Souderton ended without a suspect in custody.
Prosecutors said police were searching locations in and around the town where Stone may be located. Loud noises were heard near a house on Main Street as police called to the suspect, "You're under arrest" and "Come out with your hands up."
SWAT teams descended on Pennsburg after police responded to shootings in Lansdale, Lower Salford Township and Souderton beginning before 4:30 a.m. The search for the shooter ultimately led to a standoff on Souderton's West Penn Street, which ended shortly before noon after what sounded like a concussion grenade went off and an unidentified male, evidently seriously wounded, was removed from the home and taken by ambulance to a waiting medical helicopter.
Towamencin Township Police Chief Tim Dickinson said the person was not the suspected gunman and the SWAT teams had moved to another location in Pennsburg.
Meanwhile, officials have lifted a "shelter in place" order on all schools in the Souderton Area School District that was prompted by the shootings, and the Pennridge School District was lifting its "modified lockdown" as students prepared for dismissal.
Officers were called to the 100 block of West 5th Street in Lansdale for reports of gunfire around 4:25 a.m., according to dispatchers.
Officers were also called to a shooting reported at the Pheasant Run Apartments on the 100 block of Main Street in Lower Salford Township shortly before 5 a.m., dispatchers said.
Then, around 7:40 a.m., police responded to a reported shooting on Penn Avenue in Souderton.
Judy Alderfer, a restaurant manager who lives on Penn Street in Souderton, said the whole incident was frightening.
"These are people we know who are involved in this," she said. "It's scary to think that someone I talk to every day could be involved in this."
Audrey Gallina, another resident of the block, said that when she encountered a police officer on the street, he told her: "'There's a man with a gun; he's very dangerous. Go inside.
"This is a tragedy; this is a nice quiet town," she said, describing the couple who live in the besieged house as "very nice."
Souderton schools were in "shelter in place" mode for about two hours.
In the Pennridge School District, schools were under modified lockdown," meaning only people known to staff are allowed to enter the buildings, and students aren't participating in outdoor activities, the school district said. The lockdown was being lifted for dismissal, but after-school activities will be canceled today.
Authorities said Stone should be considered armed and dangerous, and anyone with information about his whereabouts should call 911.
He was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, 195 pounds and having a red or auburn beard and mustache, and closely cropped hair. He is known to use a cane or walker and may be wearing military fatigues.
According to Montgomery County court records, Stone is a veteran who has been serving a three-year probation term for a drunken-driving conviction last year. Court documents show police have arrested him three times for drunken driving since 2001. His first case was resolved when he was placed in a program under which charges were dropped after he completed a probationary period without incident.
After his second arrest, in 2003, Stone pleaded guilty and was ordered to spend at least a month in jail, according to the records.
His last arrest came a decade later. In May 2013, state police from the Skippack barracks arrested him on charges of driving with an intoxication level at least twice the legal limit. He pleaded guilty a year ago and was placed under house arrest with electronic monitoring, followed by the three years probation.
Court records show that his case was handled by the Montgomery County Veterans Court, set up to provide special help for ex-service members under arrest. The same files show that Stone was largely dutiful about paying monthly court fees and costs, making payments steadily throughout 2014.
Emily Babay is a staff writer for Philly.com.
Mari A. Schaefer, Laura McCrystal, Craig R. McCoy and Justine McDaniel are Inquirer staff writers.
David Gambacorta is a Daily News reporter.