A man police believe was a cop-killer barricaded himself inside a Chester rowhouse last night, shooting at officers who had surrounded the home before being killed.
Few details were immediately available, but it was clear that about 10:30 p.m. an exchange of gunfire took place between a man holed up at 818 McDonald St. and officers from the U.S. Marshals Office, State Police, Chester Police and Delaware County detectives.
Half an hour later, authorities reported that the suspect was dead and that a U.S. Marshal had been shot. The marshal, however, was wearing a bulletproof vest and was not seriously injured.
The suspect was identified by officers and people at the scene as 36-year-old Walter R. Richardson, the subject of a massive manhunt in the fatal shooting of a policeman during a botched jewelry-store robbery in upstate New York on Monday night.
Tisa Smith, 26, of Chester, a close family friend of Richardson, said she drove to the Chester shooting scene after she heard from the suspect's family about the confrontation.
"He's a good person. He's a great person. He was loved by a lot of people. I don't know him going out like this," Smith said. "He would do anything for you."
Late last night, dozens of federal and local law-enforcement officers surrounded the home on McDonald Street, which was taped off for half a block. They were joined by neighbors who lined the sidewalk in shock.
Also on the scene was Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green, who was being briefed by officers.
Earlier yesterday, police raided a home in Upper Darby that was reported to be Richardson's last known address, but did not find him.
Around 9:30 a.m., Upper Darby's SWAT team entered the home at 7062 Ruskin Lane, but no one was there. Police found food they believed had been recently prepared, a man's coat, and two television sets, police Superintendent Michael J. Chitwood said.
"We think he got spooked and left when his girlfriend never showed up," said Chitwood, who added that the girlfriend had been picked up by Havertown police earlier that morning.
Chitwood said that the Richardson might be part of the group that federal investigators are looking at as the group responsible for several area jewelry heists.
On Monday night, Richardson and John Healy, of Bronx, N.Y., allegedly tried to rob a jewelry store in New Hartford, N.Y., just south of Utica. Officers arrived on the scene within minutes and pursued the suspects' car to a nearby convenience store in Kirkland.
That's when New Hartford Town Police Department officer Joseph Corr, 30, chased after Richardson, who allegedly shot him. Richardson then escaped and made his way to Pennsylvania. Healy was captured.