Bethlehem shooting: Shelter in place lifted after 9 hours; suspect dead

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Saturday, December 23, 2017
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Bethlehem: Shelter in place lifted after 9 hours; suspect dead. Trish Hartman reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on December 22, 2017

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (WPVI) -- The shelter in place has been lifted after gunshots were fired earlier today along a residential street in Bethlehem, Northampton County.

Police say the suspect, identified by police as 36-year-old Justin Kephart was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

It happened in the 1500 block of Dennis Street around 1 p.m. when Kephart placed a phone call saying he shot his mother.

Police responded after a 911 call reported a woman was lying in the front yard. Officers were met by gunfire then more shots were fired as the standoff extended for nine hours.

According to police, Kephart called a family member saying he shot his mother and fired at police.

Police declared a "critical situation" and residents were told to shelter in place. The order has since been lifted.

There were no other injuries reported.

A neighbor, who wished not to be identified, spoke with Action News.

"I first realized it when I heard a helicopter up in the air ... and I stepped outside, turned on the scanner and heard police activity. And maybe about an hour later we heard automatic fire and bullets whizzing by. We heard a burst of automatic fire, and maybe four or five shots from like a handgun," the neighbor said.

That neighbor also shared with us a photo he took of an armored police vehicle with what appear to be bullet holes across the front windshield.

A neighbor shared this photo with Action News of an armored police vehicle at the scene with what appear to be bullet holes across the front windshield.

The shelter in place was put into effect for the surrounding area, and many people trying to get into the neighborhood were turned away. One man was trying to visit his family not far from the scene.

"My family lives on 2nd and Wilson. It's usually quiet. Usually you keep your doors unlocked. You feel safe, so this is crazy," said Grant Vosburg of Fellsburg, New Jersey.

Police shut down traffic in the area during the standoff.


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