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Soldier sought in four deaths in Pennsylvania

Monday, August 29, 2011

(Photo)
Pennsylvania State Police troopers man a roadblock Sunday in Furlong, Pa.
(Matt Rourke ~ Associated Press)
PHILADELPHIA -- A soldier suspected of killing four people in Pennsylvania and Virginia was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in suburban Philadelphia after a daylong manhunt during which he fired at and injured officers, authorities said.

The body of Leonard John Egland, 37, of Fort Lee, Va., was found shortly after 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the Bucks County community of Warwick Township, where he had been sought since early morning, said Pennsylvania State Police spokesman David Lynch.

Egland fired at officers as he was sought in the Virginia deaths of his ex-wife, her boyfriend and the boyfriend's young son, as well as his former mother-in-law in Bucks County, police said.

A body found behind a township business under renovation matched the description and clothing of the suspect, said Mark Goldberg, police chief in Warwick Township. The coroner had yet to confirm the body as Egland's, he said.

Township residents had been asked to stay in their homes and lock doors and cars as local and state police and two SWAT teams searched for Egland, who evaded authorities as Hurricane Irene lashed the area.

"I know just from the way the phones were ringing in the police station that it was causing a great deal of anxiety among our people, and for us as well," Goldberg said. "It's a tragic event, but at least our residents can rest easy."

Sad chain of events

Police in Chesterfield County, Va., said Pennsylvania police had asked officers at 1 a.m. Sunday to check on the welfare of people at a home, where officers found the bodies of Egland's ex-wife, her boyfriend and his child. Names of the victims were not being released pending notification of relatives. A spokesman said the suspect had no known criminal history in the area.

Egland's former mother-in-law, 66-year-old Barbara Reuhl of Buckingham, Pa., was believed to have been killed Saturday night, said David Heckler, district attorney in Bucks County.

Also that night, Egland went to St. Luke's Hospital in Quakertown, where he tried to leave his young daughter along with a note, Heckler said. After a male nurse or orderly confronted him, he allegedly flashed a pistol, and the hospital worker called police with a description of the suspect and his black pickup truck.

Just before midnight, the truck was stopped by state and local police in Doylestown Township, where he allegedly fired shots from a semi-automatic rifle, hitting a Doylestown officer in the arm and shattering a windshield that sent glass into the face of a Dublin officer.

The truck was spotted around 4 a.m. Sunday parked at a restaurant in a Warwick Township shopping center, and local officers spotted the suspect in the same area about an hour later and reported being fired upon. No one was hit.

A rifle and pistol were found with the body, which was discovered more than 10 hours after Egland fired at police the second time, authorities said.

Egland had recently returned from the latest of three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Heckler said. He didn't have details on his rank or military service.


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