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Shooter kills three people in suburban Philadelphia

The suspect barricaded himself in a home in New Jersey and was holding hostages. Several people were shot after gunfire erupted, forcing the cancellation of a St. Patrick’s Day parade

A police officer removes crime scene tape after a shooting was reported  in Levittown, Pa., Saturday, March 16, 2024.
A police officer removes crime scene tape after a shooting was reported in Levittown, Pa., Saturday, March 16, 2024.Matt Rourke (AP)

A suspect had barricaded himself in a home in New Jersey and was holding hostages after shooting three people to death in suburban Philadelphia on Saturday.

The shooting in Falls Township in eastern Pennsylvania forced the cancellation of a St. Patrick’s Day parade and shut down a children’s theme park. Authorities in Bucks County issued a shelter-in-place order for the area for several hours, but it was canceled by early afternoon.

Police said the suspect, a 26-year-old man who was currently homeless, knew the shooting victims.

Falls Township police said in a statement that the shootings occurred at two locations in the township. The suspect then carjacked a vehicle and drove to Trenton, New Jersey, where he barricaded himself in a home with hostages.

Video from a WPVI helicopter showed numerous police vehicles surrounding several blocks of homes in Trenton, New Jersey, where the suspect is believed to be barricaded with hostages. An officer roped off an area with crime tape, while others took cover behind vehicles. Another officer was stationed behind a wooden fence in the back of one of the multilevel homes.

Middletown Township police said the suspect has ties to addresses in Bucks and Trenton and “stays in Trenton primarily.”

Shaun Murphy, who lives in the Falls Township community of Levittown, said he was headed to the parade when he saw that the road had been blocked.

“All the neighbors were outside wondering what was going on and then we got the notice about shelter in place,” Murphy said.

“I did see ambulances coming up the street earlier without their sirens on,” Murphy said. “My neighbors were just outside with me last night, and we were just saying how great of a town and how great of a neighborhood it is.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro said in social media posts that he has asked the Pennsylvania State Police to assist local law enforcement agencies.

Police said Oxford Valley Mall and Sesame Place had been told to close until further notice, and the area’s Target store and other businesses chose to close as well.

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