Va. Soldier at Large in Philly Area after 4 Deaths

Sunday, 28 Aug 2011 02:15 PM

 

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A soldier who recently returned from war service fired at officers in suburban Philadelphia as he was sought in the Virginia deaths of his ex-wife, her boyfriend and the boyfriend's young son, authorities said. The soldier's mother-in-law was also killed, and he remains at large.

Residents of Doylestown Township were asked to stay in their homes and lock doors and cars as police hunted for Leonard John Egland, of Fort Lee, Va., who evaded authorities as Hurricane Irene lashed the area.

"I have no idea whether he's acting on impulse or whether this storm played a part in his thinking," said David Heckler, district attorney in Bucks County, Pa.

Heckler didn't know when the Virginia deaths occurred but said Egland's former mother-in-law, 66-year-old Barbara Reuhl of Buckingham, Pa., was believed to have been killed Saturday night.

Later 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 vehicle.

Just before midnight, the vehicle 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 vehicle was later spotted Sunday in Warwick Township, and local officers reported being fired upon again, but no one was hit. Police issued an alert to residents to consider the suspect armed and dangerous.

Heckler said the suspect apparently tried unsuccessfully to break into a home but was still being sought Sunday by police and a SWAT team. He is believed to be on foot.

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.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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