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Father killed, son in custody

  • West Penn Township Police Officer Melissa Boyer carries perimeter tape as she helps in the investigation.
    West Penn Township Police Officer Melissa Boyer carries perimeter tape as she helps in the investigation.
Published September 08. 2011 05:01PM

A Schuylkill County man is in custody and will be charged with killing his father, following a multicounty manhunt that started in West Penn Township Wednesday afternoon on Log Lane, just off SR895 and Blue Mountain Drive, slightly south of Snyders.

Neighbors called 911 just before 1:30 p.m. after hearing multiple gunshots and seeing a black sport utility vehicle (SUV) speed away from their neighbor's home.

Franklin Stumhofer Jr., 39, of 57 Summer Valley Road, Orwigsburg, drove to the home of his parents', Franklin Sr. and Yong Stumhofer, of 6 Log Lane. That is when Stumhofer allegedly shot and killed his father Franklin, 58, following an argument, according to state police, who are handling the case.

A nearby neighbor, John Barron, of 509 Blue Mountain Road, said he saw a black SUV speed down Log Lane, which only has two homes.

"A couple minutes later, I heard five or six shots. I heard this vehicle take off again," stated Barron.

Another nearby neighbor, Moriah Kromer, of Teaberry Lane, said she heard five gunshots followed by screaming.

Neighbors pointed out that the Stumhofer family kept to themselves. Neighbors also mentioned that police were called to the same area a few months ago for a heated family argument.

Ambulance crews had to wait about a half-mile away while police secured the area.

After allegedly shooting his father, Stumhofer fled in a black Jeep Grand Cherokee to the intersection of Port Clinton Avenue and Williams Street, Windsor Township, Berks County, near Hamburg, where he then reportedly shot at a pickup truck containing three other family members, who followed him to Hamburg after the shooting. None of the family members were hurt.

About 45 minutes after the fatal shooting, Stumhofer turned himself in to state police at the Hamburg barracks. Troopers said Stumhofer has confessed to the crimes.

Police from Schuylkill and surrounding counties were staged at many locations in hopes of intercepting Stumhofer as he left the scene, traveling west onto Blue Mountain Drive toward New Ringgold.

Stumhofer is expected to be charged with homicide and three counts of attempted homicide.

State police spent hours processing both the West Penn and Windsor Township crime scenes and obtained a search warrant for the body of Stumhofer Sr. in order to process his clothing. Police are still investigating.

Responding locally were police officers from West Penn, Tamaqua, Coaldale, Rush Township, Mahoning Valley, and other departments. West Penn Fire Company and fire police also responded to help.

Stumhofer was expected to be arraigned late last night or early this morning.

The case is being handled by the Major Case Team out of the Troop L Reading barracks. Troopers said the fatal shooting and the incident in which family members were shot at are being consolidated and all charges will be filed in Schuylkill County.

The elder Stumhofer was pronounced dead at his house at 3:25 p.m. by Schuylkill County Coroner Joseph E. Lipsett, who said Stumhofer was shot multiple times in the upper body.

An autopsy was scheduled Friday in Schuylkill Medical Center South, Lipsett said. The death was ruled a homicide, but the cause of death is pending the autopsy.

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