Warminster standoff ends with neighbor dead (PHOTOS)

February 20, 2013 3:51:23 PM PST
An exchange of gunfire between a barricaded man and police during a tense standoff in Bucks County ended with an elderly neighbor dead, but it is not yet clear who fired the fatal shot.

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Police were called to a report of a domestic dispute at the home of 49-year-old Andrew Cairns in the 2000 building of the Jefferson on the Creek Apartments, located on the 600 block of East Street Road in Warminster Township, at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday.

Investigators say the situation was resolved and officers left.

But then, at 7:40 p.m., police responded to a call of shots fired at the same apartment.

Police say Cairns had been arguing with his common law wife and, when officers arrived, he fired shots at them and officers returned fire. Cairns then barricaded himself inside one of the apartments in the complex.

Other apartments were evacuated and the SWAT team was called in as a standoff began.

Then, around 10:00 p.m. officers entered the apartment beneath where Cairns had barricaded himself and inside they found an 89-year-old woman dead, having been apparently shot during the exchange of gunfire between police and the suspect.

Family members identified the woman as Marie Zienkewicz

Police Chief Mike Murphy said "The Warminster Police Department wishes to express our deepest sympathies to the family."

Police do not believe anyone else was inside the home of the woman who was killed. It is not known if she was killed by the suspect's gunfire or by gunfire from the police.

During the tense standoff, at least one bullet travelled hundreds of feet, all the way across Street Road and into the bedroom of 76-year-old Deanna Gorman.

Deanna says, fortunately, she was downstairs when it happened.

"My first thought was, I guess some pictures fell off the wall, so I got up and looked around at the different rooms. I didn't see anything and then that's when I saw my mirror crack. That really scared me at that point," Gorman said.

Nobody inside Deanna's home was injured.

Cairns surrendered around 2:30 a.m. and was taken into custody. Cairns common law wife previously escaped and she was questioned by police.

The Bucks County District Attorney's Office will take over the investigation because officers were involved in the shooting.

Cairns was ordered to be held on $10 million bail during a court hearing on Wednesday.

Meantime, Deanna Gorman says the idea of her being inside that bedroom at the time of the shooting sends chills down her spine.

"We won't even go there. We're not going to think about that," Gorman said