Lehigh Valley

Coroner identifies standoff suspects killed in apparent murder-suicide

UPPER SAUCON TWP., Pa. - The coroner has identified the suspects found dead after a nearly day-long standoff in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County Saturday.

Emily Fatzinger, 25, of Greene Township, and Eric Messick, 33, of Walnutport, were pronounced dead around 10 p.m., the coroner said.

The pair was found dead in a house in the 4100 block of Lanark Road. The district attorney said it appeared to be a murder-suicide.

Courts records show Fatzinger and Messick both have criminal records.

Fatzinger was charged for operating a meth lab and other drug charges. Records show Messick has an extensive list of previous charges for fleeing police, drugs, theft, assault and others.

The incident started just before noon Saturday, when Upper Saucon Township police tried to stop them while driving on Route 309. They were wanted for parole violations.

They didn’t stop, and instead turned into a nearby development. When they got stuck in construction, the pair fled the officer on foot, the district attorney said.

One of the suspects fired a shot at police with a handgun, officials said. The officer stopped chasing them as they ran through an open cornfield.

The two went to one home in the area and encountered one person, demanded car keys, but fled again, the DA said.

They went to another home where a woman was sitting on her porch with her dog. The suspects demanded car keys but the woman said she didn’t have any. The two went into her house while she and her dog ran to a nearby neighbor’s home, authorities said.

Numerous crews responded to the scene, including the Lehigh County Emergency Response team. They believed the suspects were barricaded in the home and tried to contact them, but eventually determined they were not in that house, the DA said.

Officers continued evacuating neighbors, and as they approached another nearby home they heard three gunshots inside the house, according to the DA.

When crews entered the home they found two people, identified as Fatzinger and Messick, dead in the attic. There were shell casings and a gun nearby.

The owner of the home where the suspects were barricaded and later found dead told 69 News he left with his dog around noon to go into town. When he returned later Saturday night, he realized police were surrounding his home.

Sunday morning, he said police went into the home with him so he could get clothes. He said the house has to be fumigated because of the powder and chemicals from flash grenades and tear gas. Police told him they are not sure if the house will be habitable.

The incident forced authorities to put the surrounding area on lockdown. Residents were told via reverse 911 to stay inside and lock all their doors.

Autopsies will be done Monday to determine the exact cause of death.

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