You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Man Accused in Deadly Multistate Crime Spree Shot and Killed by Police in Pa. Backyard

NBC Philadelphia 4/1/2023 Dan Stamm
© Provided by NBC Philadelphia

A man wanted for a series of violent crimes in New Jersey and Philadelphia earlier this week was shot and killed by police after crashing his car into the backyard of a Berks County family's home Thursday night.

"I'm not certain of his motive, but he was on a one-man violent crime spree," Berks County District Attorney John Adams said Friday afternoon.

Léelo en español aquí.

Pennsylvania State Police Capt. Robert Bailey, the commanding officer of Troop L, said at a Friday afternoon news conference that the suspect, a man in his 50s from Philadelphia, was wanted for a deadly Monday arson in South Jersey and a Wednesday shooting in Philadelphia where the shooter approached two people on a porch.

Police tracked the car of the suspect in those crimes and his Lexus SUV to State Hill Road in Wyomissing, near the Berkshire Mall, Bailey said.

Local police tried to pull him over, but a short pursuit ensued. He would then crash into the backyard of a home on Spring Street, which is on the other side of U.S. Route 422 from the mall.

"Both PSP and local law enforcement surrounded the vehicle and gave several verbal commands to him," Bailey said. The suspect had a rifle across his chest and failed to obey police orders.

State troopers, West Reading police officers and Wyomissing police officers then opened fire on the suspect, Bailey said. The county coroner later pronounced the man dead at the scene.

No police officers or troopers were hurt.

"A very dangerous person was taken off the streets last evening," Adams said while praising the "bravery" of responding officers.

The family inside the home where the deadly shooting took place had nothing to do with the suspect or his crimes, Adams said.

A neighbor told NBC10 she could see a stream of police cars and heard gunshots around 9 p.m. Thursday.

"When I heard the "pop, pop, pop... I said 'everyone down in the basement now,'" Julie Hartman said.

A car had appeared to have crashed into Hartman's neighbors' backyard. A bullet hole could be seen in a fence gate, tire tracks could be seen on a lawn and a basketball hoop could be seen damaged.

Police later found a bullet hole in Hartman's parked car, which needed to be towed.

"I'm not certain of his motive, but he was on a one-man violent crime spree,"

Authorities said that police had been tracking the man and that a bulletin was put out to be looking for him and his car.

"The decedent was involved in some very significant violent behaviors," Adams said Friday. "He was considered to be armed and dangerous."

Police didn't name the suspect Friday since they have yet to notify his family.

The man was wanted in a Monday double homicide and motel arson off Route 130 in Gloucester City, New Jersey, according to the Camden County Prosecutors Office. Tabitha Price, 56, of Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Steven Smith, 52, of Atco, New Jersey, were shot to death in one room, while another room was set on fire, prosecutors said.

Adams said the joint investigation by the county DA's office and state police was ongoing and that many police officers would be interviewed and body camera video would be viewed.

Four state troopers, as well as two West Reading and three Wyomissing police officers were put on administrative leave, as is the policy for any officers involved in a shooting, authorities said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon