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DA: Suspect In Pa. Shooting Killed By SWAT Team

This article is more than 11 years old.
A police officer walks near vehicles in Douglass Township, Pa. as he arrives near the scene of a fatal shooting on Sunday which left two Massachusetts residents dead. (AP)
A police officer walks near vehicles in Douglass Township, Pa. as he arrives near the scene of a fatal shooting on Sunday which left two Massachusetts residents dead. (AP)

A career criminal suspected of shooting five people, killing two Massachusetts residents, one of them a 2-year-old, inside a suburban home over an insurance fraud scheme was killed by SWAT team members after a six-hour standoff Monday, authorities said.

Authorities identified the shooter as Mark Richard Geisenheyner. Since leaving prison last year, Geisenheyner, 51, had been vowing revenge on Paul Shay, one of the victims of a weekend shooting in rural Montgomery County, authorities said.

Geisenheyner broke into Shay's vacation home late Saturday and said, "Guess you never thought you'd see me again," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman said, citing the accounts of two survivors. He then shot five people in the head, killing Shay's nephew 43-year-old Joseph Shay of Yarmouth and 2-year-old Gregory Erdman of Fall River. Shay, his wife, Monica Shay, and the toddler's mother, Kathryn Erdmann, remained in critical condition Monday.

Shay and Geisenheyner knew each other from a 2006 insurance fraud scheme that involved Shay's home, Ferman said. Ferman could not immediately provide details.

On Sunday, Geisenheyner went to the home of a friend he had known in prison and talked for several hours about the slayings, offering details not known to the public, prosecutors said.

When he fell asleep, the friend and a companion sneaked out, calling police just before 5 a.m. Monday. Police and SWAT teams surrounded the home in Trainer, making contact with the armed suspect by cellphone throughout the morning.

"He was determined not to surrender, not to end up in a prison again," Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green told The Associated Press.

"He obviously indicated that he intended to seek revenge against the one victim. There's no explanation that I'm aware of as to why he would have shot at and killed multiple victims, including a 2-year-old child," Green said.

Geisenheyner had a lengthy criminal history dating to the 1970s, including robbery and burglary arrests, Ferman said.

Paul Shay, 64, owns a plumbing company and lives in the East Village of Manhattan with his 58-year-old wife Monica Shay, who works as the director of the arts and cultural management program at Pratt Institute. They spent their free time at the Pennsylvania home.

Paul Shay and the boy's mother, 37-year-old Kathryn Erdmann, who was dating Joseph Shay, have been able to speak to investigators, officials said. They have extensive injuries but are expected to survive, authorities said.

Jessica Espinola is a Fall River neighbor of the Erdmans and spent time with the Gregory.

"Her little boy, he'd come over every day to see the fish tank that I have. He loves fish. It's just sad that someone can take an innocent life," Espinola said.

Geisenheyner had a .45-caliber weapon with him Monday, but used a .22-caliber weapon in the Saturday shootings, the prosecutors said. The murder weapon has not been recovered, but authorities have several leads about where it might be, Ferman said.

With reporting from The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on July 3, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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