Officials said a family returning home in Upper Gwynedd was targeted by five men. After being forced inside, the man residing at the house fired at the intruders, killing one. The resident was critically wounded.
Authorities believe an Upper Gwynedd man and his family were intentionally targeted by armed men who accosted family members as they returned to their home Wednesday night.
An exchange of gunfire - what police termed a shootout - inside the Hancock Road home at about 10:30 p.m. resulted in the death of one intruder and critical injuries to the man residing at the house, according to law enforcement officials.
Now Montgomery County authorities are hoping to identify the dead man through an autopsy. The identity of the slain intruder could help police find the other four members of a "gang of thugs" who ambushed the family in the driveway of the home they rent in the 100 block of Hancock Road, according to District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.
The resident, who collects rent from people living in low income housing, had just pulled into the driveway with his three young daughters, ages 6 to 11, and was greeted by his wife when they were accosted by five men, some of whom were armed, according to Ferman.
The five men had been hiding nearby and forced the family inside the residence.
Once inside, the resident was able to get his hands on a firearm and a gunfight in which more than 20 shots were fired ensued, authorities said.
Both the resident and one of the intruders were shot, said Ferman. No other family members were injured and it is unknown whether any of the four other men, who fled after the shooting, were wounded during the gun battle, said Ferman.
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The resident, shot several times, was taken to Abington Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery for his wounds and was listed in critical condition. The one intruder was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ferman said that authorities are hoping the autopsy on the intruder, which was under way late Thursday afternoon, will provide them with fingerprints and other information, such as tattoos, that could help identify him.
Prior to surgery for his wounds, the resident told authorities he did not know any of the men who attacked him and his family, according to Ferman.
While emphasizing it is still early in the investigation, Ferman said detectives believe the resident was targeted by the men.
"What we do believe, based on all the information thus far, is that this was a targeted attack," she said. "This was clearly, based on what happened, not a random act of violence, something that occurred by accident. An effort was made (by the intruders) to identify this man and arrive at this location when he would be there.
"It's too early in the investigation to tell why he was targeted," added Ferman, declining to speculate on a motive.
Authorities are asking anyone with information on this incident to contact Upper Gwynedd police at 215-699-5861 or the county detective bureau at 610-278-3368.
Margaret Gibbons can be reached at 610-279-6153 or mgibbons@phillyBurbs.com
June 11, 2010 02:34 AM