The Morning Call
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli on Tuesday said the shooter in last week’s nine-hour standoff in Bethlehem Township was armed with a semi-automatic shotgun and two Russian assault rifles that he fired at police before killing himself.
Morganelli said he spent four hours Friday at the standoff scene, adding, “I felt like I was in a war zone, really.”
State police Lt. Joseph Sokolowski said the alleged shooter, Justin Kephart, had a shotgun and two assault rifles, an AK-47 and an AK-74. He said 115 rounds were fired.
“We were very fortunate that we did not have a police officer shot. We are very fortunate that no civilians were hurt,” Morganelli said. “It was his intent to take other bodies, and they would be wearing blue uniforms.”
Sokolowski said about 10 p.m. Friday, troopers noticed that Kephart lay motionless and went into the house. He said Kephart died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Morganelli described a harrowing scene outside the home as Kephart shot first at the officer who arrived to check on his mother, who was lying motionless in the yard, then fired on police who rushed to that officer’s aid.
Kephart was not legally permitted to possess firearms due to a felony drug conviction, Morganelli said, but used guns owned by his father. He said the elder Kephart owned “an arsenal” of weapons.
“It’s another example of an individual who was not legally allowed to possess a firearm. … Criminals can always get a gun when they want one.”
Morganelli noted that a Bearcat armored vehicle that state police used to during the incident was hit at least 26 times by bullets.
The bizarre scene that unfolded just days before Christmas continued Monday when authorities were called to a suicide at the home of the alleged gunman’s father.
Police said during the township standoff, Kephart appeared to be firing a semi-automatic rifle, spraying the area with a hail of bullets that pinned down a neighbor who stopped to help and a police officer. Kephart called his father, Dale Clark Kephart, and told him he had killed “mom” and a “cop.”
The shootings prompted a massive police response with residents not able to enter their homes for nine hours while armored vehicles and officers in camouflage prowled through the residential neighborhood in search of the gunman. Police say Kephart killed his mother, Mary Miexell-Moyer, before killing himself.
On Monday, police were called to Dale Kephart’s home in Allentown where he was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the coroner’s office.
The standoff began just before 2 p.m. Friday on Dennis Street when Douglas Wallace, 70, heard a loud shot, not an unusual occurrence in the neighborhood near a gun club. Wallace said a neighbor told him that Miexell-Moyer was laying in the front yard of her home.
When Wallace went to check on her, he found she had been shot. As a police officer arrived, Wallace said a spray of gunfire erupted from the home. Wallace hid behind his pickup truck as the officer dove behind a car for cover. Both remained trapped for several hours until an armored vehicle was sent to rescue them. That vehicle, sent from Bethlehem police, was also punctured with gunfire.
Police were able to get Wallace and the officer to safety. State police were called in and spent the next several hours trying to make contact with Kephart before finding him lifeless inside the home.