An Army officer suspected of killing four people in Pennsylvania and Virginia was found dead in a wooded area Sunday after a manhunt during Tropical Storm Irene's winds and drenching rains paralyzed residents in a Philadelphia suburb.
Hours after he fired at several officers, wounding two of them, the body of Leonard John Egland, 37, of Fort Lee, Va., was found about 3:30 p.m. in a Bucks County community, Warwick Township Police Chief Mark Goldberg said.
The police chief said Egland had a gunshot wound but he would leave it to the coroner to determine whether it was self-inflicted.
Egland's body was found several hundred yards behind a Lukoil gas station where he had fired a semiautomatic rifle at SWAT team members who discovered his truck and found him before dawn in a trash bin, authorities said. The officers chased him into the woods but lost him as the storm raked the area, Goldberg said.
"It was bad," he said. "Weather conditions were horrible, and it was a very dangerous situation."
The manhunt, Goldberg said, "tied up departments all over Bucks County .... It didn't prevent us from responding during the storm, but it certainly taxed our resources."
Three Bucks County SWAT teams, state police and numerous police departments searched for Egland after his former mother-in-law was found shot to death in her home in Buckingham. Authorities in Virginia said Egland had earlier killed his former wife, her boyfriend and the boyfriend's young son before taking his own young daughter on a frantic drive through Irene's winds and rains into Pennsylvania.
The girl, believed by Goldberg to be about 6 years old, was abandoned Saturday night by Egland, unharmed, at St. Luke's Hospital in Quakertown, apparently after the child's grandmother was killed. A note was left with the child, authorities said. Police didn't release its contents.
Police in Chesterfield County, Va., said Pennsylvania police had asked officers at 1 a.m. Sunday to check on the welfare of people at a home, where officers found the bodies of Egland's ex-wife, her boyfriend and his child. Names of the victims were not being released pending notification of relatives.
A spokesman said the suspect had no known criminal history in the area.
Egland's former mother-in-law, 66-year-old Barbara Reuhl, of Buckingham, was believed to have been killed Saturday night, Heckler said.
Goldberg said other family members were under police protection during the search for Egland, including one person who was at the police department. The police chief said Sunday afternoon that he believed Egland's daughter was being cared for by relatives.
Egland had recently returned from the latest of three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Heckler said.