Police officers went to the South Trenton home Friday afternoon after reports that some of the children hadn't been to school in 12 days. Officers said they entered the home through a rear door and smelled an odor consistent with that of a decomposing body.
They found 38-year-old Gerald Tyrone Murphy in an upstairs bedroom, and he told them he was armed with a gun and explosives, authorities said. Officers retreated from the home, rescuing a 19-year-old man from the basement, who said he hadn't seen his mother or siblings since about April 24.
Homes on the surrounding block were evacuated as a precaution, and police tape cordoned off the street in front of the house. A SWAT team was called, and an arson bomb unit was also on the scene.
The standoff ended at about 3:45 a.m. Sunday, 37 hours after it began, when officers stormed the house and shot Murphy because he was threatening one of the children, authorities said. Murphy was taken into custody and later died of his injuries.
Authorities found the body of 44-year-old Carmelita Stevens and her teenage son inside the home. The woman's body was in an advanced state of decomposition, and police said she appeared to have died two weeks ago.
Three of her children -- an 18-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy -- were rescued and taken to a medical center for evaluation and treatment.
Murphy and Stevens had been dating for a few months, police said. He was not the father of any of her children.
Police said Murphy was a registered sex offender with a long criminal history including convictions for aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy. He had previously been arrested for robbery and weapons offenses and child endangerment.
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