The bodies of a woman and a 13-year-old boy were found after a 36-hour standoff at a Trenton, N.J. home, and the suspect, identified as Gerald Tyrone Murphy, was killed, authorities said at a news conference Sunday. Three children who had been held captive were also rescued, authorities said.
Police detonated several flash bombs inside the home overnight. Those flash bombs were followed by a single gunshot. Ambulances were then called to the scene.
"The Trenton hostage situation is resolved, the three children are safe, and the area is secure,'' state police Sgt. Adam Grossman told The Associated Press.
Police officers went to the South Trenton home Friday afternoon after family members of a 44-year-old Carmelita Stevenson told investigators that her 16 and 18 year old daughters had not been to school for 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 retreated from the home, rescuing a 19-year-old man from the basement, who said he hadn't seen his mother or sisters since about April 24.
The bomb squad, FBI negotiators and State Troopers were all called to the scene. Family members of Stevenson also arrived. Stevenson's sister, Tonya Kelly, says she drove to Trenton all the way from Maryland when she heard news of her sister's death.
"They had a little misunderstanding and the guy killed her and my nephew," said Kelly.
Authorities said at a news conference Sunday that officers stormed the house early Sunday morning and shot Murphy because he was threatening one of the children. Murphy later died of his injuries. Police said Murphy had an extensive record, including aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and child endangerment convictions.
Authorities found the body of a woman and a 13-year-old boy 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.
Police say they are currently investigating whether Stevenson's 16 and 18-year-old daughters were abused by Murphy while they were held captive. They also have not yet revealed the exact cause of death of Stevenson and her son.
While police confirmed that Murphy was not the father of any of Stevenson's children, they did not reveal his relationship with the victim. Family members, however, say that Murphy was Stevenson's boyfriend.
"I'm distraught," said Kelly. "What can I do? I met the guy but he didn't seem to be like this. But I'm hurt."
Those who know the suspect say they're shocked by everything that has transpired.
"He's never acted like this," said Haydee Santana, a friend of the suspect. "He has always defended the community. If he sees a lady walking in the streets, he'll walk her home."