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Police Standoff Ends when Fire Destroys Home
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor
2022-08-03

            A domestic incident quickly worsened into a shooting and concluded with a fatal fire on Friday night and into Saturday morning in New Hanover Township.

            New Hanover Township police responded to a report of a subject with a gun

A police standoff ended on Saturday morning when a house was destroyed by fire

in New Hanover Township.

following a reported domestic incident on Friday night.  The subject reportedly pointed a gun at a woman, who called 911 and told her to leave.  After the woman and a child left the home, a gunshot was heard.  The armed subject was in the garage, and the caller indicated that he was feeling depressed.

            According to a press release issued by New Hanover Township Police Chief, Kevin R. McKeon, "Shortly after 8 p.m. on July 29, 2022 members of the New Hanover Township Police Department were dispatched to the 2000 block of Little Road in the Perkiomenville section of New Hanover Township for a domestic disturbance.

            "Upon their arrival, the suspect, identified as Robert Ray Wagner, 50, began firing numerous rounds at the responding officers. The officers took cover and called for additional units. Montgomery County S.W.A.T. evacuated the pinned-down officers and then worked through the night in an effort to resolve the incident peacefully."

            Shots were reportedly fired at officers sporadically Saturday evening and into Sunday morning.  Additional police from neighboring departments and Montgomery County Detective units along with negotiators were dispatched to the scene

            Airspace over the site was restricted by the Federal Aviation Administration as a media helicopter flew overhead, restricting the ability of law enforcement officers to hear.

            Negotiators attempted several times, using different methods, to contact Wagner with no success.

            According to records, around 6 a.m., a fire started in the dwelling and fire companies were dispatched to the scene.  New Hanover Township Fire and Rescue Company, who were originally dispatched around 1 a.m. to standby at their station, responded to the scene along with other neighboring companies.  Fire units were initially ordered to stage in the area of Little and Layfield roads because the site was an active crime scene. 

Soon after, firefighters utilized high-volume "deck guns" to extinguish hot spots and keep a nearby propane tank cool and prevent it from exploding.

            The fire eventually spread and consumed the building.  Fire company tank trucks ferried water from a hydrant at Hickory Park and had to back down a winding stretch of Little Road to reach the scene.  The home was completely destroyed by the blaze.  According to Chief McKeon's release, upon an inspection of the site, the body of the suspect was located.

            Fire companies dispatched to the scene along with New Hanover Fire and Rescue included Gilbertsville, Green Lane, and Upper Frederick.  An additional tanker truck was requested from Red Hill Fire Company.  Pennsburg Fire Company was on stand-by at Gilbertsville's firehouse.

            Emergency medical service units dispatched included Gilbertsville and Bally. Also, canteen units from North Penn Goodwill were dispatched to a staging area at Hickory Park.  Aid from Montgomery County Mobile Crises and the American Red Cross was also requested.

            The investigation is continuing.  An autopsy was completed by the Montgomery County Coroners' office and the results will be released after the completion of the investigation.

            Chief McKeon's release also stated, "On behalf of the New Hanover Township Board of Supervisors, we sincerely thank our police officers, our surrounding police departments, Montgomery County S.W.A.T. West and Central teams, our fire company as well as numerous other surrounding fire companies, area fire police, responding ambulance companies, North Penn Goodwill Service, and anyone we may have inadvertently missed in this message for their help, strength and courage throughout this terrible situation.

            "We also extend our thoughts and prayers to the family, for regardless of the situation, we lost a member of our community this morning."


 

 

 

 

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