6 members of Philadelphia area family are feared dead in house fire and shooting, prosecutor says

Feb 8, 2024, 7:33 AM | Updated: 4:12 pm

EAST LANSDOWNE, Pa. (AP) — Six members of a family — including three children — are feared dead, an official said Thursday, from a fire at a house in suburban Philadelphia that went up in flames as two police officers who responded to the scene were shot and injured.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer told reporters that some remains of a body and a rifle were recovered from the home in East Lansdowne, but he cautioned that the probe is in its early stages.

Stollsteimer said the shooter may have been inside the house when it was destroyed by fire Wednesday afternoon. He said the family residing there has the surname of Le but otherwise did not release names.

Lansdowne Officer David Schiazza, 54, who was wounded in the leg, was discharged Thursday afternoon, rolled out of the hospital in a wheelchair and greeted by rows of fellow officers who stood at attention and saluted. He waved and flashed a thumbs-up sign through the passenger-side window as he was driven away.

The other wounded officer, 44-year-old John Meehan of the East Lansdowne department, required lengthy surgery to his arm and could be released by Friday, Stollsteimer said.

Both officers have more than two decades with their respective departments.

The fire did so much damage it may not ever be possible to determine how it started or who did the shooting, Stollsteimer said.

“If we ever determine it, it won’t be any time soon,” he said.

Firefighters remained on the scene Thursday morning as wisps of smoke were visible from the charred remains of the house. Heavy machinery moved into the neighborhood as investigators were examining the home.

An excavator was being used to tear down the walls left standing after the fire gutted the building, scooping debris to be sifted by investigators. A medical examiner’s office vehicle was there.

Officers responded to the house in East Lansdowne around 3:45 p.m. after a 911 call reporting that an 11-year-old girl had been shot. Stollsteimer said he was not sure who called 911.

They immediately came under fire.

Officers from Upper Darby saved the lives of the two wounded men by dragging them out of danger, Stollsteimer said.

A retired public transit police officer who lives near the home told the Delaware County Daily Times he heard a “succession” of shots, some before police arrived.

“You heard that first shot, then it was a pause,” the Rev. Tracy Mallory said. “Then it was rapid shots, about four to six. Then it was about two more.”

Authorities believe the home was set on fire by someone inside. Intense flames were initially seen rising from the roof and top floor of the three-story home before spreading to the lower levels, largely gutting the structure.

There was no more information about the child who was reported wounded.

Upper Darby Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt described a volatile and dangerous scene when officers from his department responded to the home and were able to rescue the two wounded officers.

“All officers that were on scene initially were taking on fire, and then when they removed themselves from it, there was no more gunfire at that point,” Bernhardt said.

East Lansdowne is about 5 miles (8 kilometers) west of downtown Philadelphia.


Associated Press reporter Mark Scolforo contributed from Harrisburg. Bruce Shipkowski reported from Toms River, New Jersey.

United States News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives on third day of the Republi...

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: Trump, in Republican convention video, alludes to false claim 2020 election was stolen

DONALD TRUMP, alluding that the 2020 vote was stolen: “Whether you vote early, absentee, by mail or in person, we are going to protect the vote. That’s the most important thing we have to do is protect the vote. Keep your eyes open because these people want to cheat and they do cheat. And frankly, […]

23 minutes ago

Supporters cheer as Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives for a c...

Associated Press

‘One screen, two movies’: Conflicting conspiracy theories emerge from Trump shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former president is shot, the gunman quickly neutralized, and all of it is caught on camera. But for those who don’t believe their eyes, that’s just the start of the story. For some supporters of former President Donald Trump, the failure of the Secret Service to prevent the attempted assassination point […]

23 minutes ago

Associated Press

Hundreds attend vigil for man killed at Trump rally in Pennsylvania before visitation Thursday

SARVER, Pa. (AP) — Hundreds of people who gathered to remember the former fire chief fatally shot at a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump were urged to find “unity” as the area in rural Pennsylvania sought to recover from the assassination attempt. Wednesday’s public event was the first of two organized to memorialize […]

25 minutes ago

California delegate T. Tran holds his phone with an image of Republican presidential candidate form...

Associated Press

What to watch as the Republican National Convention enters its fourth day in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Republican National Convention culminates Thursday with former President Donald Trump expected to accept the party’s presidential nomination, achieving a comeback four years in the making and anticipated even more in the past week in light of Saturday’s assassination attempt. Trump is expected to accept his third consecutive party nod in prime […]

28 minutes ago

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, arrives to speak on third day of the ...

Associated Press

GOP vice presidential pick Vance talks Appalachian ties in speech as resentment over memoir simmers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Newly minted vice presidential nominee JD Vance built his Wednesday night speech to the Republican National Convention around his own Appalachian roots, but it wasn’t the first time he had shared his personal story. Long before he was a U.S. senator from Ohio, Vance rose to prominence on the wings of […]

34 minutes ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

6 members of Philadelphia area family are feared dead in house fire and shooting, prosecutor says