The former Marine accused of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives remains on the loose somewhere in suburban Philadelphia after he was last spotted Monday night by a dog walker who fought back when the deranged 35-year-old tried to steal his car, cops say.
Bradley William Stone was likely last spotted late Monday in Doylestown, several hours later and about 20 miles east from Harleysville, where he is suspected of gunning down his final victim, 33-year-old ex-wife Nicole Hill. A man in Doylestown told cops he was approached by a man wearing camouflage and armed with a knife who demanded his car keys, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
But the dog walker was armed with a handgun and fired off a shot, scaring off the suspect, according to police.
Cops used a helicopter and police K-9s to try and track the man, believed to be Stone, to no avail.
As the manhunt stretched into a second day, schools in Montgomery County and nearby Bucks County have altered school schedules to protect students against Stone, characterized by cops as armed and dangerous.
Classes have been canceled in the Upper Perkiomen School District, while the Pennridge School District is open but will “operate on a modified lockdown.”
“That means students will remain indoors and only known individuals will be permitted to enter schools,” a statement reads. “Police presence will be noted in our schools and neighborhoods. Please travel alertly and safely.”
The carnage began around 3:30 a.m. Monday in Souderton, where cops say Stone killed his ex-wife’s sister, Patricia Flick, her husband, Aaron Flick and the couple’s 14-year-old daughter, Nina Flick. Later that morning, cops found a badly injured Anthony Flick, 17, inside the home – where police at first believed Stone to be holed up.
Stone then went to Lansdale, where he murdered his ex-wife’s mother, Joanne Hill, and grandmother, Patricia Hill, police said.
The spree ended with the cold-blooded killing of Nicole Hill at her apartment – a murder carried out with the estranged couple’s children nearby.
“I heard three or four gunshots. I heard the kids saying, ‘Mommy, no! Mommy, no!’” one neighbor told WPVI-TV. “He (the suspect) kept saying ‘We gotta go, we gotta go.'”
Stone later dropped off the children safely with a neighbor before vanishing.
Neighbors at the Pheasant Run Apartment complex said Nicole Hill was scared of her ex. The couple had divorce in 2009 and had been in a custody battle for their children since then, with court proceedings a recent as last week.
Stone was remarried in August 2013, while Hill reportedly was engaged over the summer.
“She would tell anybody who would listen that he was going to kill her and that she was really afraid for her life,” neighbor Evan Weon said. “(Nicole) came into the house a few times, a few separate occasions, crying about how it ( the custody dispute) was very upsetting to her.”
The gunman was described as a white man standing 5-feet-10-inches tall and about 200 pounds. He had previously been described as having closely cropped hair and a red beard, but Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said he was clean-shaven as of last night. He’s known to use a cane or walker to get around, the DA’s office said, although it is unclear if he is using those devices. Authorities have also found his car and cell phone and are unsure how, or where, Stone is traveling.
Stone served in the Marines between 2002 and 2008 and deployed at least once to Iraq. He suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, friends and neighbors said.
“He was a great guy and an excellent father,” Lisa Andrey, a neighbor of Nicole Hill’s mother, told the Inquirer. “And then he went away to Iraq and came back and was a completely different man.”
With News Wire Services