Police say Pennsylvania man killed 3 people, including his 13-year-old sister, during crime spree

ByDalia Faheid, CNNWire
Sunday, March 17, 2024
Suspect in 3 Bucks Co. killings captured after barricade inside Trenton, New Jersey home: Police
Suspect in 3 Bucks Co. killings captured after barricade inside Trenton, New Jersey home: Police

TRENTON, N.J. -- Police are investigating after the arrest of a 26-year-old man who allegedly killed three people, including his 13-year-old sister, at two different homes in Pennsylvania before carjacking a driver and fleeing to New Jersey, police said.

Andre Gordon is accused of killing the three people in Falls Township on Saturday morning, according to authorities, before crossing state lines where he was eventually arrested. He carried out the attacks with an "AR-15 style assault rifle," Falls Township Police Chief Nelson Whitney said.

"He's in custody. No one else was injured," Trenton, New Jersey, police director Steve Wilson said Saturday.

The crime spree triggered temporary shelter-in-place orders for residents in Falls Township as authorities searched for the suspect, with police eventually converging on a home miles away in Trenton, New Jersey, where Gordon now faces carjacking and firearm possession charges.

Gordon was taken into custody without incident, Wilson said. Authorities in Trenton, New Jersey, who were looking to apprehend Gordon, initially believed he was barricaded inside a home, prompting a perimeter of the area to be set up, he said.

"Apparently, before the perimeter was completed, the suspect was able to get out of the location unseen. However, our information was that he was still in there," Wilson said.

Gordon was arrested two blocks away from the home where police thought he was barricaded in, Trenton mayor Reed Gusciora said, adding the suspect did not have any weapons when he was arrested and cooperated with police. Gusciora said he felt "really grateful" after Gordon's arrest.

Police news conference on 3 homicides in separate locations in Bucks County on March 16, 2024.

Mercer County, New Jersey, Prosecutor Angelo Onofri indicated in a statement Sunday Garden State officials intend to return Gordon to Pennsylvania to face murder charges.

In the meantime, the suspect faces seven charges in New Jersey, according to a news release from the office of state Attorney General Matthew Platkin, including first-degree carjacking, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and second-degree unlawful possession of an assault firearm, among others.

"The string of violent acts that took place yesterday, allegedly at the hands of a single armed individual, alarmed and terrorized communities in Bucks and Mercer counties," Platkin said. "It is the latest in a horrific litany of illustrations of how illegal guns and assault rifles can empower one aggrieved and disturbed actor to do immense damage and leave a trail of tragedies in their wake."

Whether Gordon has a defense attorney is unknown, the release said.

Here's what we know about the killings and the investigation so far:

Timeline of crime spree

Just before 9 a.m., Falls Township Police said officers were called to investigate a reported shooting on Viewpoint Lane in Levittown, Pennsylvania.

Gordon, who was driving a stolen vehicle from Trenton, fatally shot his 52-year-old stepmother Karen Gordon and his 13-year-old sister Kera Gordon in their home, Bucks County District Attorney Jennifer Schorn said at a Saturday afternoon news conference. Three other family members who were in the home, including one minor, successfully hid from Gordon during the attack, according to Schorn.

The three family members "were able to hide and avoid being shot by Gordon as he went through the house searching for them," Schorn said during a news conference.

Minutes later, Gordon drove to Edgewood Lane, where he broke into a home and fatally shot 25-year-old Taylor Daniel, with whom he has two children, Schorn said. Four other people were inside the home, including children and Daniel's mother, who was injured by Gordon with the assault rifle and is being treated at a hospital, Schorn said.

After the shootings, police say Gordon at about 9:13 a.m. then carjacked a 44-year-old driver at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Dollar General on Bristol Pike in Morrisville. The driver was not injured, according to police.

Around 11:38 a.m., the carjacked Honda CRV was found abandoned in Trenton, according to Falls Township Police.

Then around 12:20 p.m., Pennsylvania authorities were notified Gordon was barricaded inside a Trenton home. But the city's police director said the suspect had actually managed to leave the house at some point before they had established a perimeter. The perimeter had been set up between approximately 10:30 to 11 a.m., according to police.

SUV that was carjacked after 3 homicides in Bucks County located in Trenton, New Jersey

"The people who were inside the house, they went upstairs. They still felt that he was still in the house. So when they got out of the house on the upstairs window, they told police that he was still downstairs. We couldn't take any chances, and it was still a great resolution by the area law enforcement," Gusciora told CNN's Polo Sandoval at the scene.

They evacuated the house's residents through an upstairs window, believing him to still be inside. After hours surrounding the house and calling out to the suspect, however, officers say they spotted him walking down a street nearby and took him into custody.

Falls Township Police had earlier said the suspect was "believed to be in possession of an assault rifle which he used to commit these crimes," and possibly additional weapons.

A shelter-in-place order for Falls Township was lifted after police determined Gordon was in New Jersey. Falls Township is approximately 28 miles northeast of Philadelphia. The town is close to the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border.

The victims were family members

Falls Township Police said they believe Gordon knew all the victims except for the driver. The victims were Gordon's stepmother, 13-year-old sister, and the mother of two of his children, according to the Bucks County district attorney. The pair of shootings were "domestic related," Falls Township Chairman of Board of Supervisors Jeff Dence told CNN.

Family members were present at both homes in Falls Township, according to Schorn. Gordon is also believed to have "family ties" to the Trenton house, she said in a news conference.

He is "believed to currently be homeless and has ties to the Trenton area," Schorn said. Police have had "minor contacts" with Gordon in the past, authorities said at the Saturday news conference, without providing further details.

"On a day where our Lower Bucks community celebrates our proud Irish heritage, Andre shocked our region by selfishly and abhorrently taking the lives of 3 individuals who have been confirmed to be his very own family," Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who represents Bucks County, said in an X post.

Police now looking for more information

The investigation is ongoing, authorities said. Police officers are still searching the home and the vehicle Gordon allegedly carjacked for the weapon used in Saturday's shooting, the mayor said. He added the suspect will remain in custody in New Jersey before being extradited to Pennsylvania.

Officers executed a search warrant at the home as they look for the weapon and any other information, Gusciora said. Authorities said they would "investigate every aspect of how he came into possession of these weapons."

The FBI office in Philadelphia told CNN they are "aware and tracking the incident" and are "working closely with our local partners."

New Jersey barricade
A resident is evacuated from a home in Trenton, N.J. on Saturday, March 16, 2024.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Pennsylvania State Police also said they are assisting with the investigation.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said in an X poston Saturday morning he had been "briefed on the developing incident."

Gusciora said neighbors are relieved, and the city is working with residents who lived in surrounding duplexes to make sure they have a place to stay after police used tear gas in the area.

"Trentonians stick together. It's one big family here. There's a lot of camaraderie and they cooperated fully with the police, and we're just really grateful for a safe and peaceful outcome," the mayor said.

CNN's Jeff Winter, Sarah Dewberry, Michelle Watson, Braden Walker, Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer and Danny Freeman contributed to this report. The-CNN-Wire & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.