ARDMORE, Pa. (AP) — A man fatally shot his wife, her parents and his stepdaughter before killing himself at a home in this wealthy Philadelphia suburb, police said.
A woman made a desperate phone call summoning police to the home on Tuesday, but the line was disconnected as the rampage began, Lower Merion Township Police Superintendent Joseph Daly said. "There was some shouting in the background and the line went dead. The dispatcher attempted to call back and there was no response," Daly said.
Police arrived at the house minutes after the call, he said, but the gunman, identified as Michael Burgess, had already shot the four family members and himself.
Authorities weren't releasing names of the family members Tuesday night, but neighbors identified the slain wife as Cassandra Burgess and her daughter as Alexandra. Police declined to release Alexandra's age, but neighbors said she was between 10 and 15 years old.
When police arrived at the home, they found the father-in-law, identified by neighbors as Jim Watkins, in the back yard with multiple gunshot wounds. He told police the shooter was inside, Daly said.
Police found three bodies on the first floor and the girl's body on the second floor. Watkins died later, police said. The name of one victim, Watkins' wife, was not immediately available.
Daly said Michael Burgess disrupted a service on Sunday at the Mount Calvary Baptist Church, prompting a call to police, but he couldn't provide further details about the incident. The church is a few blocks from the family's home.
A friend said Burgess was taking medication for depression.
"I'm not sure, but it just seemed like he was doing fine," Tyrone Burrell told WTXF-TV. "I talked to him last week."
Neighbor Lynn Kerrigan said she knew Jim Watkins.
"(He) was the very first person who came over and introduced himself when my family moved here," Kerrigan said. "He welcomed us and he knew everyone on the street. He was just wonderful."
Lower Merion Township, which includes Ardmore and borders Philadelphia, is one of the state's wealthiest suburbs.