Armed Suspect in Killing of Mom Dies After 9-Hour Standoff in Bethlehem Township

A neighborhood in Bethlehem Township, Northampton County, waited anxiously for more than nine hours Friday as they were ordered to "shelter-in-place" due to a suspect in the killing of his mother barricaded in a home and believed to be heavily armed.

Late in the evening, residents were finally able to freely traverse the area after the suspected gunman, Justin Kephart, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Kephart is believed to have earlier killed his mother, Bethlehem police said.

A "shelter in place" order was tweeted by Bethlehem police for residents in the area of 2nd and Dennis streets in the early afternoon. Shortly after 10:30 p.m., police finally declared the scene secure.

Police were initially called to a house on Dennis Street for the report of a woman on the ground at about 2:30 p.m. 

Police Chief Dan Pancoast told reporters earlier in the evening that a person was not moving on the front yard of a house on the street.

A witness told that he heard three gunshots while watching television Friday afternoon. When he emerged from his house on Dennis Street, he found a woman on the ground.

The man, who lives a few houses away, was initially trapped by gunfire before an armored police vehicle arrived and saved him.

An entire neighborhood in the Northampton County township was on lockdown for much of Friday after police initially responded to a report of a “medical emergency.” A suspected gunman armed with an automatic weapon held police at a distance for hours. A possible female victim may have been killed as well, according to reports.

He said the woman appeared to have suffered a bullet wound to the back and to be dead, according to the newspaper's website.

It was later revealed that Kephart had killed his mother, then fired on police before shooting himself.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 provides people in distress, or those around them, with 24-hour support. The Crisis Text Line allows people to text 741-741 to connect with crisis counselors.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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