EAST LANSDOWNE, PENNSYLVANIA – After a devastating incident that left two police officers injured, an investigation is underway at the site of a house fire where three bodies and a rifle were recovered. The incident occurred when a resident of the home shot two police officers before setting the house ablaze. According to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, the investigation is a difficult and “gruesome” task, and there may never be a full understanding of what transpired.
The aftermath of the fire has made the excavation work challenging, with still-smoldering hot spots and several feet of water in the basement hindering the process. The destruction of the house has also hampered the retrieval of evidence, and authorities may need to resort to dental records and forensic testing to identify the victims in the coming days.
Law enforcement sources have identified the home on Lewis Avenue as occupied by three generations of the Le family. The alleged shooter, Canh Le, reportedly lived in the home with his parents, brother, sister-in-law, and their three young children. The initial 911 call was made by Canh Le’s father, who reported that his son had shot one of his granddaughter’s and then went on to shoot at the responding police officers.
As the investigation unfolds, the injured officers, David Schiazza and John Meehan, were reported to be in recovery. While Schiazza was released from the hospital after being treated for a gunshot wound to his leg, Meehan remained in the hospital awaiting surgery for a gunshot wound to his left arm. The motive behind the shooting that led to the officers being called to the scene remains unclear.
Authorities suspect that Canh Le may have killed his relatives before firing at the officers from a third-floor attic window, and subsequently causing the fire that destroyed the home. Although Le is presumed to have died in the fire as well, the cause of death remains unclear.
Despite having no prior contact with the East Lansdowne police, Canh Le had a previous encounter with Pennsylvania State Police in 2006, where he was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats, trespassing, and disorderly conduct. In a social media post, it was revealed that Canh Le’s brother and sister-in-law had three young children. Loved ones of the Le family declined to comment on the incident, simply stating that they were “praying for good news”.
As the investigation continues, neighbors and acquaintances shared their insights, describing the Le family as quiet and reserved. According to one former neighbor, the family kept to themselves, and police were never called to their residence.
The tragic events in East Lansdowne have left a community in shock and mourning as the investigation into the shooting and fire continues.