Connecticut killings: ‘Armed and dangerous’ student allegedly murders two in crime spree

Justin Vallejo
Police are searching for an "armed and dangerous" Peter Manfredonia, 23, in Pennsylvania after the alleged murders of a 62-year-old man and 23-year-old man, assault of an elderly man, and abduction of a woman from the crime scene in Derby, Connecticut: Instagram

A University of Connecticut senior is on the run after allegedly killing two men, injuring another and kidnapping a girl during a Memorial Day crime spree across at least three states.

Police are searching for an “armed and dangerous” Peter Manfredonia, 23, in Pennsylvania after the alleged murders of a 62-year-old man and 23-year-old man, assault of an elderly man, and abduction of a woman from the crime scene in Derby, Connecticut.

Mr Manfredonia is from Newton, Sandy Hook, and has been a vocal critic of gun violence following the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary school in 2012.

Last seen in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, on Sunday night, Mr Manfredonia is believed to be armed with pistols and shotguns police say were stolen during a home invasion on Friday.

The kidnapped women, reported to be the girlfriend of the killed man identified as Nicholas J Eisele, was found safe along with the stolen Volkswagen Jetta the suspect used to flee the state. She is being questioned by police.

Connecticut police released photos of Mr Manfredonia warning people to not approach the man.

Mr Manfredonia is suspected in the murder of Ted DeMers, 62, and the assault of another man on Friday. Mr DeMers’ wife, Cynthia DeMers, told the Hartford Courant that the two men offered to give Mr Manfredonia a ride back to his motorcycle after spotting him walking on the road.

“It could have been anybody who offered him a ride. It could have been any of my neighbours’ husbands. It just happened to be mine,” she said.

Ms DeMers told the Courant that she saw Mr Manfredonia drive away with her husband five minutes before a neighbour came to her house with news of the incident on Mirtl Road in Willington, with the survivor suffering from serious wounds described as from a sword or machete.

Later on Friday, police allege that Mr Manfredonia broke into a home in Willington and stole three shotguns, a pistol and a truck, which was found crashed near Osbornedale State Park early on Sunday morning.

Mr Manfredonia is suspected of then going to the Derby house of his friend, Mr Eisele, before killing him and fleeing with the victim’s girlfriend in the stolen car later found in New Jersey at the Pennsylvania border.

Both Mr Manfredonia and Mr Eisele were reportedly from Sandy Hook New Jersey, and Mr Manfredonia has spoken against gun violence following the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, saying that “love is the only answer to hate, not more hate”, following shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

According to his Instagram account, Mr Manfredonia is enrolled in the University of Connecticut’s management and engineering for manufacturing program.

In an Instagram post from 2018, Mr Manfredonia wrote that it was disgusting to think their “collective strength and resilience” following the shooting was used as an example to the world.

“No longer are these shootings isolated incidents. They are an epidemic plaguing this great country we live in,” he wrote.

“It is sad to think that any child should have to feel unsafe in a school. It is sad to think that hundreds more will also no longer be able to walk the halls of the schools in which they were brought up. It is sad to think that we have stood idly by and done nothing as innocent people continue to die at the hands of those who only seek to inflict pain in this world.”