2 dead in apparent murder-suicide after barricade identified

Authorities released the names of a couple found dead in an apparent murder-suicide Saturday after barricading themselves in a home following a chase during which a police officer was fired upon, officials said.

Eric Messick, 33, of Walnutport, and Emily Fatzinger, 25, of Greene Township in Pike County, were pronounced dead Saturday night in the Upper Saucon Township home, the Lehigh County coroner's office said. Autopsies were planned Monday.

"It ended with an apparent murder-suicide," District Attorney Jim Martin said at a news conference late Saturday night. "One suspect shot the other, then killed himself."

Township police had tried to stop them on Route 309 shortly before noon Saturday on outstanding warrants, but rather than stop, the couple turned into a nearby development and abandoned the vehicle after they got stuck in construction, authorities said.

The man fired at a pursuing officer, and the officer stopped chasing them as they ran through an open cornfield, police said. The two reportedly went to a home in the area and demanded car keys from one person, then fled.

Edward Petro told The (Allentown) Morning Call that he saw a shadow cut across his wall, then a second shadow.

"I'm waiting for them to ring the doorbell but the doorbell doesn't ring," he said. "The guy comes in with a gun in his hand -- not in his waistband, in his hand. And I just stood in my tracks."

He said the man demanded his car keys, and he quickly came up with a story that his mechanic was in the process of fixing the car and still had the keys.

"He was in a hurry," Petro said of the gunman, who several times asked for the car keys. "I kept telling him I don't have the keys."

Either before or after that, the pair went to a home where a woman was sitting on her porch with her dog and again demanded car keys, then entered as the woman and her dog fled to a nearby neighbor's home and took her cellphone.

Eventually they went to an unoccupied home, and police searching the neighborhood approached after hearing three gunshots inside the house. Police used a bomb robot and eight rounds of tear gas before entering to find the couple dead in the attic.

Some residents were evacuated to the nearby Wedgewood Golf Course while others were urged to stay indoors and lock their homes as police swarmed the area, some in armored vehicles, as a helicopter searched overheard.