BETHLEHEM, Pa. — A man who killed his mother and then fired more than 100 rounds at police as her body lay in a yard during an eight-hour standoff before killing himself wasn’t permitted to have firearms and likely obtained them from his father, who killed himself days after the rampage, authorities said.
State police on Tuesday identified Marylouise Meixell-Moyer as the woman shot 11 times in Bethlehem Township by Justin Kephart.
Kephart began firing at police after an officer responded to a call about the woman’s body on Friday, officials said. A bullet whizzed by an officer’s head as he peeked from behind a parked car as he tried to figure out where the shots were coming from.
Police called in an armored police vehicle to the quiet suburb about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of Philadelphia as authorities locked down the area. But Kephart did not relent, shooting continuously at police from inside the house.
Officials don’t know what caused the rampage but said Kephart had some “ongoing issues” with his mother and called his father to tell him that he’d killed her, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said.
“It’s hard to get in the mind of someone like this,” Morganelli said, adding that the scene was like a “war zone.”
Police found Kephart with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, officials said. Surrounding his body were two semi-automatic rifles, a shotgun and dozens of spent rounds.
Authorities said Kephart had a criminal record that should have prevented him from obtaining a gun but said he likely got the weapons from his father.
Kephart’s father, Dale C. Kephart, killed himself on Christmas Day, a coroner’s office in a neighboring county said.