A Marine veteran suspected of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives in suburban Philadelphia was found dead Tuesday afternoon of self-inflicted cutting wounds to the center of his body in a wooded area near Pennsburg.
Schools closed and hospitals and other public places tightened security Tuesday as SWAT teams and local, state and federal law enforcement officers hunted for 35-year-old Bradley William Stone.
Stone, locked in a child custody dispute, went on a 90-minute shooting rampage before daybreak Monday at three homes within a few miles of each other in the Montgomery County towns of Harleysville, Lansdale and Souderton, authorities said.
SWAT teams surrounded his Pennsburg home for hours on Monday and demanded through a bullhorn that the Iraq War veteran give himself up. But he was gone.
Stone's former wife, 33-year-old Nicole Stone, was found dead in her apartment after a neighbor saw Stone fleeing around 5 a.m. with their two young daughters, authorities said.
Police then discovered five more people killed in two other homes: Nicole Stone's mother, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law and 14-year-old niece. A 17-year-old nephew was wounded in the head and left clinging to life.
The daughters were later found safe with Stone's neighbors.
Stone and his ex-wife had been locked in a court fight over their children's custody since she filed for divorce in 2009. He filed an emergency motion this month, although the resulting Dec. 9 ruling remained sealed in court files.
"She would tell anybody who would listen that he was going to kill her and that she was really afraid for her life," said Evan Weron, a neighbor in Harleysville.
He said Nicole Stone would talk frequently about the custody dispute.
She "came into the house a few times, a few separate occasions, crying about how it was very upsetting to her," Weron said.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said searches at Stone's home and locations he is known to frequent turned up nothing. His body was found in a wooded area near Stone's Pennsburg home Tuesday afternoon. Police say he died of self-inflicted cutting wounds to the center of his body.
The lone survivor of the shooting spree, 17-year-old Anthony Frick, remains hospitalized in "very serious" condition.
Stone was in the Marines from 2002 through 2008. The former sergeant's occupational specialty was listed as "artillery meteorological man."
Stone had faced several driving-under-the-influence charges, one of which was handled in veterans' court and led to a three- to 23-month sentence.
He remarried last year, according to his Facebook page and court records, and has an infant son. Neither his wife nor the son was injured.
His wife's Facebook page shows their son and Stone's daughters having their picture taken with Santa on Saturday.
Nicole Stone became engaged over the summer, neighbors said.
Dale reported from Harleysville. Associated Press writer Kathy Matheson contributed from Souderton and Harleysville.