Now in its 25-th hour, a gunman, Joe Murphy, is still barricaded in a brick house at 250 Grand Street, in South Trenton, New Jersey, with only 3 of five hostages still alive.
The hostage crisis began at 2:47 p.m. Friday afternoon when reportedly, Trenton police were asked by relatives, of 42-year-old Carmen Kelly, to check on her well being. Kelly’s family had not seen nor heard from her in days.
According to witnesses, officers entered the home and immediately came upon a decomposing body of a woman, and an armed man, identified later as Murphy, in close proximity to the victim. Police are said to have promptly retreated in order to evacuate neighbors, set up a perimeter and call in SWAT. All of this happened on Friday afternoon.
It was later reported that Kelly’s 13-year-old brother had also been murdered.
According to Mercer County Prosecutor, Joe Bocchini, authorities attempted to negotiate with Murphy to get him to release what they believed were the victim’s two daughters, ages 14 and 17, and a 4-year-old son.
Kelly’s autistic 19-year-old son had been staying with relatives.
A friend of Joe Murphy, Juana Martinez, told reporters that the unemployed security guard met Kelly only three months ago and moved in with the victim and her four children a month later.
On Saturday authorities work to negotiate Kelly’s surrender and his captives’ release.
With SWAT surrounding the home and armored vehicles at the scene, Murphy continued to the police standoff, though tensions ran high.
Negotiators and police worked hard to coax Murphy out of his defensive position. For the better part of the day, Police spokesman, Lt. Steve Vern declined to comment on reports that Kelly and her son had been killed.
State Police Sgt. Adam Grossman said an arson bomb unit was also on the scene. Police declined to say whether Murphy had made any demands.
For hours, dozens of police and crisis negotiators in the US state of New Jersey tried to talk Murphy out of the house.
“A small army” of police have surrounded the South Trenton home, according to news website nj.com.
D. Chandler contributed to this report.