Suspected gunman arrested after 'shooting 13-year-old sister, stepmother and ex-partner'

A suspected gunman has been arrested after allegedly shooting dead three people in suburban Philadelphia.

Police believed he had barricaded himself inside a house in New Jersey, leading to an hourslong stand-off.

The man was found near the house having apparently escaped before the police perimeter was set up, according to Steve Wilson, police director for the city of Trenton.

He added that he did not believe the suspect was armed at the time and no one else was injured.

Police previously said the suspect was holding hostages but subsequently said the residents of the house had been "successfully evacuated with no injuries".

The shootings happened in Falls Township, Pennsylvania, about 28 miles from Philadelphia.

Locals were urged to stay inside and a St Patrick's Day parade was cancelled as police hunted for the suspect, identified by police as 26-year-old Andre Gordon.

He killed his 52-year-old stepmother, Karen Gordon, and 13-year-old sister, Kera Gordon after breaking into their house in Levittown, Bucks County District Attorney Jennifer Schorn said at a press conference.

Three other people in the home "were able to hide and avoid being shot by Gordon as he went through the house searching for them," she said.

He drove to another house nearby and shot and killed 25-year-old Taylor Daniel, the mother of his two children.

Four other people, including Gordon's two children, were there, and the victim's mother was bludgeoned with a rifle, Ms Schorn said.

Gordon had carjacked a car before the shootings, and afterwards carjacked a second vehicle from a 44-year-old man who wasn't harmed, she said.

He then drove to the home in Trenton, New Jersey, where he barricaded himself.

By mid-afternoon, police surrounded the house, calling to Gordon through a loudspeaker and trying to persuade him to come out.

"Andre, get away from the windows. If you would like to surrender, dial 911 now," one message went.

Video from a helicopter showed several police cars in the area around the house.

One officer roped off an area with crime tape, while others took cover behind vehicles. Another officer was stationed behind a wooden fence in the back of one of the neighbouring homes.

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A shelter-in-place order was in place for several hours after the shooting.

A shopping mall was told to close, while the area's Target store chose to shut as well. Sesame Place, a children's theme park, was also forced to shut.

Shaun Murphy, who lives in the Falls Township Levittown, said he was on his way to the parade when he saw the road had been blocked.

"All the neighbours were outside wondering what was going on and then we got the notice about shelter in place," he said.

"I did see ambulances coming up the street earlier without their sirens on," Mr Murphy said.

"My neighbors were just outside with me last night, and we were just saying how great of a town and how great of a neighborhood it is."