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Person of interest in South Jersey slayings killed by police in Pennsylvania

Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, NJ) logo Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, NJ) 3/31/2023 Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
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GLOUCESTER CITY – A man suspected of killing two people here was later shot and killed by police in Pennsylvania, authorities say.

Vaughn Perkins, 53, of Philadelphia, was a person of interest in the fatal shooting of a man and woman in a Route 130 motel on Monday, March 27, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

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The victims - Steven Smith, 52, of Atco and Tabitha Price, 56, of Gulf Shores, Alabama – were found slain around 6:30 p.m. by police officers and firefighters responding to a blaze iat the Super 8 motel.

Vaughn Perkins spotted in Philadelphia

Perkins was identified on March 29 as the person who allegedly set the fire in a separate room, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on a charge of aggravated arson, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

One day later, Perkins allegedly shot and wounded two people who were sitting on a porch in South Philadelphia, police said.

A surveillance camera recorded his license plate during the incident.

Pennsylvania State Police then spotted Perkins SUV around 6:30 p.m. in Wyomissing, a Berks County community near Reading. The scene is some 70 miles from Gloucester City.

Search for suspect ends in violence

Police, who had been warned Perkins was armed and dangerous, attempted to stop the vehicle on a Wyomissing street.

He drove away but his vehicle became disabled after entering the backyard of a home, Pennsylvania State Police Capt. Robert Bailey said Friday.

State Police and Wyomissing officers surrounded the vehicle and opened fire when Perkins, who allegedly had a rifle across his chest, ignored "several verbal commands," Bailey said.

No officers were injured and the Wyomissing shooting is under investigation as a police-involved shooting, said Berks County District Attorney John Adams.

The Gloucester City homicides remain under investigation, but there is no threat to the public, the prosecutor’s office said.

First responders at the motel found an empty bottle of lighter fluid in a room with a heavily burned mattress and bedding, as well as smoke damage, says a probable cause statement for the arson charge.

Motel records showed the room had been rented to "Vaugn Perkins."

Detectives went to a Walmart in nearby Audubon, where a video showed a man believed to be Perkins buying the lighter fluid, the statement adds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Prosecutor’s Detective Daniel Crawford at 856-580-2223 or Gloucester City Police Detective Keith O'Donnell at 856-456-7797.

Jim Walsh is a senior reporter with the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal.

This article originally appeared on Cherry Hill Courier-Post: Person of interest in South Jersey slayings killed by police in Pennsylvania


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