The man suspected of gunning down four people in their Butler Twp. homes was arrested in Lawrence, Kansas late Saturday night, police said.
Butler Twp. Police Chief John Porter said Stephen Marlow, 39, who is accused of killing four people Friday in two different homes on Hardwicke Place in the same neighborhood where he lived with his parents, will be extradited to Ohio to face charges.
Butler Twp. police, assisted in the investigation by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said they believe Marlow fled Ohio on Interstate 70 West following the shootings. He was arrested around 10 p.m., Porter said.
“I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the families who lost loved ones yesterday. This has been a difficult time for all of us in the Butler Twp. community and surrounding areas. All of us here at the Butler Twp. Police Department, as well as all of our local state and federal partners here today are working continuously to provide justice for all of the victims and their families,” Porter said at a Saturday evening press conference. before the arrest.
Killed in the shooting were Clyde Knox, 82, Eva Knox, 78, Sarah Anderson, 41, and Kayla Anderson, 15, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. The Knox couple was killed in their home and the Andersons were killed in a separate home on Hardwick Place near the home owned by Marlow’s parents on Haverstraw Avenue, Porter said.
Police have not said what they believe the motive was or what type of weapon was used in the shooting.
Porter said police are aware that Marlow released a video on the internet some time after the shooting where he discussed why he shot the four people. He said dozens have been interviewed about Marlow.
“We understand the ideas and languages in the video are startling. And that is why our investigators are working around the clock to ensure Mr. Marlow is brought into custody,” Porter said.
Talking to Marlow directly, Porter said he wanted the suspect to know they were there to help him. “You have the ability to end this peacefully. We want to end this peacefully. Please call 911 and turn yourself in.”
Credit: Montgomery County Jail
Credit: Montgomery County Jail
Meanwhile neighbors, who described their neighborhood as quiet and with little crime, struggled to comprehend the shooting.
“People don’t even run stop signs in this neighborhood,” Wanda Pence said on Saturday. “You hear all the time on the news, ‘Oh this is a really quiet neighborhood, nothing ever happens here.’ But it’s the truth; nothing ever happens here. I’m just shocked.”
Pence has lived in her Hardwicke home, located directly across the street from where two of the shootings took place, since the 1970s. She told the Dayton Daily News Saturday she’s always felt safe in her neighborhood.
“It’s just very disheartening that this happened here,” she said. “We’ll just have to process this. It’s certainly going to affect the neighborhood and give it a different feel.”
The Butler Twp. neighborhood sits about a mile west of the Miller Lane development and Interstate 75, just south of Little York Road.
Neighborhood erupts on Friday
Chief Porter said officers were dispatched to the area of Hardwicke Place and Haverstraw Avenue around 11:45 a.m. Friday and located “multiple crime scenes” and four victims with gunshot wounds.
Two homes were surrounded by crime scene tape near the intersection of Hardwicke and Haverstraw. The Knox’s home in the 7200 block of Hardwicke, shares part of a back fence with a house in the 2600 block of Haverstraw that has been owned by Marlow’s parents since 1999, according to county property records.
Porter said Marlow left the neighborhood driving a white 2007 Ford Edge SUV with Ohio license plate JES-9806.
Details emerge about suspect
Marlow graduated from Butler High School in 2001 and graduated from the University of Kentucky in Lexington in 2005, according to a background check obtained by the Dayton Daily News.
Following college graduation he lived and worked in Chicago as a trader from 2006 to 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile. He worked at several companies during this time.
In July 2019, police said he broke into a Damian Street home in Vandalia and threatened harm to a person there with a weapon. Marlow was convicted of aggravated burglary and aggravated menacing in February 2020.
He was sentenced to five years of community control but that probation was terminated Feb. 9, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records.
During the first part of his probation, he was ordered to have a mental health evaluation and was under intense supervision until December 2020, according to court records.
Marlow, described as 5′11″, 160 pounds with short brown hair and last seen wearing shorts and a yellow t-shirt, lived with his parents on Haverstraw Avenue across from where one of the shootings happen during part of his probation.
Community help others
Vandalia school superintendent Robert O’Leary said the district has provided counselors and therapists for students and their families and will continue this through next week.
“Yesterday we tragically lost a member of the aviator family and our hearts prayers and supports are with the Anderson family. Kayla’s friends, her classmates and all of our students. In the words of those who knew her best Kayla was a friend to many. She was kind and as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. She was a ray of light,” he said.
“Our priority right now is for that light to live through all of us. And we will focus our efforts in bringing that beauty, that joy and love to all of our students and our staff and the entire community. Yesterday I was able to make a phone call to the leaders of our faith community. Our staff was able to reach out to Samaritan behavior. And we had pastors, youth ministers and therapists available in about 30 minutes time sort of go out to provide supports for students who were very close to Kayla.”
On Saturday, students and parents gathered at the high school to remember Kayla, who was described as a “special student who made others smile.”
A neighbor to the shooting who declined to give his name said he has lived in the neighborhood for over three decades.
Visibly upset, the man said he and his wife had offered up their home as an area for victim’s families to gather in the immediate aftermath of the shootings.
The man said he did not know the alleged shooter but that he’d recently heard there were what seemed to be minor issues with Marlow and other neighbors, including residents on Hardwicke Place.
“He’d holler at them and say, ‘Keep the noise down, you’re too noisy in this neighborhood,’” the man said, noting that he didn’t personally witness Marlow yelling, but had heard this from others in the neighborhood. “They said he did that all the time, he’d holler at you if you were outside.”
Wendy Chapman lives next door to one of the Hardwicke Place houses wrapped with crime scene tape.
“I don’t know how to feel. I’m still stunned,” she said, describing the neighborhood as “so quiet.”
“At this point, I’m pissed,” she said. “I feel violated. My question is why. I can’t even imagine.”
Police presence on Saturday
Police cruisers and a trailer with cameras remained in the neighborhood Saturday around Hardwicke Place and Haverstraw Avenue as Marlow was being sought.
The city of Vandalia closed a number of public areas Saturday and Mayor Richard Herbst said his city’s police department increased the number of officers on patrol as a precaution. The Recreation Center and all outdoor activities, as well as Cassel Hills Golf Course, Cassel Hills Pool and the Vandalia Senior Citizens Center were closed Saturday.
The city said those public areas will open today.
A prayer event has been organized in the community and will be held at 5 p.m. Monday in the Butler High School parking lot. The event is meant to show a message of hope, strength, love and support amid the recent tragedy, according to a Facebook post by the City of Vandalia.
Police seek help
People with information about Stephen Marlow are asked to call 937-233-2080, 1-800-Call-FBI or leave a tip http://tips.fbi.gov.
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