Three years after threatening to kill her, a father followed through and used a military-style rifle to gun down his ex-wife during a scheduled custody exchange inside a popular store in Delaware County, officials said.
Brian Kennedy, 34, faces first and third-degree murder, criminal homicide and related charges after he walked into a Radnor Township Wawa store and used an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to kill his 37-year-old ex-wife while others were inside, Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland said. Police initially said the victim was in her 20s.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, the victim was Stephanie Miller; Kennedy shot her "at point blank range" in the head and stomach.
"With an ArmaLite 15, he brutally murdered the mother of his child in a public place in cold blood, placing numerous others at risk. He then cowardly fled the area," Copeland said.
In 2016, Kennedy was arrested by Radnor Township Police after threatening to kill Miller at the same Wawa store in which the fatal shooting took place, the affidavit said.
Miller had previously been granted a protective order against her ex-husband, but it expired in September of last year, the district attorney said. Kennedy was scheduled to exchange the couple's child at the store, but he apparently arrived alone, Copeland said.
A witness flagged down a Radnor Township Police officer around 8:20 p.m. Thursday and reported that shots were fired inside the Wawa on 151 Sugartown Road. At the same time, police received multiple calls reporting a woman had been shot at least twice inside the store by a man armed with a rifle.
A cashier at the store told police that when Kennedy arrived, he appeared "agitated," had a "stern" look on his face and "said nothing," according to the affidavit.
Officers entered the store and found Miller's body.
"This is a classic case of what can happen in situations regarding domestic abuse and violence and the use of firearms," Copeland said.
Several witnesses were inside the store at the time of the shooting. They told police a gunman in black clothing ran out of the store and fled the scene in a black BMW.
Multiple agencies searched for Kennedy and the road was closed off near the scene of the shooting. A SWAT Team and Pennsylvania State Police troopers eventually found him in Thornbury Park in Glen Mills, investigators said.
He was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center for what police determined to be a drug overdose, according to the affidavit. He was not shot by police, Radnor Twp. Police Superintendent Christopher Flanagan said.
"It is very important for the community to know, although we did have a tragedy, that it is over," Radnor Twp. Police Superintendent Christopher Flanagan said. "It is safe and the subject is in custody."
They also say they found his weapon.
"We have video that makes it appear to be an AR-15 style rifle," Superintendent Flanagan said. "We have it in custody. We're going to be doing evidence. They're on the scene right now with it so I don't want to confirm the model but it was absolutely a rifle."
Police are currently going through surveillance video and interviewing witnesses.