Lehigh Valley

Police arrest fatal shooting suspect in Bethlehem Township

John Hann is accused of killing his cousin

BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - The search for a suspect in Wednesday's fatal shooting in Lehigh Township ended with an arrest Thursday morning in Bethlehem Township after a nearly three-hour standoff, following lockdowns at three Bethlehem area schools.

Authorities charged John M. Hann in connection to the fatal shooting of his cousin, Joseph F. Mullner Jr. The Northampton County Coroner's Office said Thursday that the 64-year-old died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Police charged Hann, 61, with single felony counts of homicide and attempted homicide.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli has scheduled a news conference for 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

According to the Valley Central Veterinary Clinic in Whitehall Township, they have a dog in their facility that was owned by the couple that was shot. The dog has gunshot wounds and is in stable condition. 

The shooting occurred sometime after 6 p.m. Wednesday in the 500 block of Longacre Drive in the Cherryville area of Lehigh Township. Authorities said Mullner's wife, Melinda, called 911 shortly before 6:30 p.m. to report that her "husband's cousin, Johnny" had shot Mullner, according to court records.

Officers with the Lehigh Township and Northampton police departments arrived to find Mullner in the driveway outside the garage. Authorities found his wife in the kitchen and "numerous" 9mm shells inside and outside the house, according to court records.

Melinda Mullner, who was taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds, told police that Hann was the shooter.

A neighbor told police that he had seen a dark-colored pickup truck parked on the street next to the Mullners' home since roughly 5 p.m. He reported seeing the truck still parked near the house before hearing at least four gunshots just after 6 p.m.

Pennsylvania State Police determined that Hann purchased a 9mm handgun in August 2011 and that he owned a Dodge and Ford truck.

The search shifted overnight to a home on Cherry Court in Bushkill Township about 20 minutes from the Mullners' home. Pennsylvania State Police with the Bethlehem barracks confirmed that the police presence in Bushkill Township was linked to the Lehigh Township shooting.

Neighbors reported that they heard a loud bang about 5:30 a.m. and police speaking over a loudspeaker asking someone to come out of the house. Authorities could be see leaving that area about 7:30 a.m.

Police descended on the area of Oakland Road and Sutton Place in Bethlehem Township at about 8 a.m. The large police presence prompted the Bethlehem Area School District to lockdown the nearby Freedom High School, East Hills Middle School and the Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School.

Bethlehem schools Superintendent Joseph Roy said police were in the schools as a precaution, but that there was no direct threat to the schools. The school district lifted the lockdown about 10:30 a.m.

Roy said high school students, who arrive earlier than the middle school students, were being kept in their classrooms. Any middle school students who were being dropped off were taken inside the school and seven busloads of arriving students were first diverted to the Giant parking lot on Route 191 before heading to Liberty High School in Bethlehem, he said.

Officials at Freedom High School also said rumors of a school bus fire were unfounded.

Police re-opened Oakland Road between Hecktown Road and Oakland Square Drive shortly before noon.

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