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Paroled burglar dead at Lower Providence motel after SWAT lockdown

Gunshot wound apparently self-inflicted; had been staying at Philadelphia halfway house

A paroled burglar who fired shots at Lower Providence police officers from a motel room on Sunday evening was later found dead inside that room from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

Police surrounded the Blue Eagle Motel on Ridge Pike after Ricardo Norris, 48, fired shots and "narrowly missed striking the officers" who had knocked on the motel room door to serve him with a warrant, according to a statement released by the Lower Providence Township Police Department. The officers did not return fire and called for support.

Ridge Pike was closed between Level Road and Eagleville Road as authorities established a perimeter around the motel and the Central Montgomery County SWAT team took up positions near the property. Residents who had been away from the area when the incident began were unable to return to their homes.

After numerous attempts to contact Norris were unsuccessful, police looked inside the room and saw Norris lying on the floor. They entered the room and found that Norris had sustained a gunshot wound and was unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead by the Montgomery County Coroner's Office, which took custody of the body. An autopsy is scheduled for later today. Police also found a handgun in the room.

Police declined to confirm Sunday night that Norris's wound was self-inflicted, but Lower Providence police chief Francis "Bud" Carroll said that none of the officers at the scene had fired their weapons.

There were no other guests staying at the hotel at the time of the incident. Residents of some nearby homes were evacuated during the incident, while others, including those in the hotel's office, were asked to "shelter in place."

Norris, whom Carroll said had been paroled following a burglary conviction, had failed to report back to his Philadelphia halfway house on Nov. 6. Police later learned that Norris was staying at the hotel.

The Lower Providence Police Department said that in addition to the SWAT team, assistance at the scene was provided by the West Norriton Township Police Department, the Collegeville Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police from both the Skippack station and the Philadelphia station, the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety Emergency Dispatch Services, the Lower Providence Township Emergency Medical Services, Lower Providence Fire Police, Worcester Fire Police, and Collegeville Fire Police.

Earlier story and updates below.

Update 9:45pm: Lower Providence police chief Francis Carroll has confirmed that a dead male was found in a room at the Blue Eagle Motel.

Carroll said officers approached the hotel earlier this evening to serve the occupant of the room with a state parole warrant. The man, who Carroll declined to identify, failed to meet his parole officer after being released from prison on a burglary conviction.

When officers approached the room, the man fired multiple shots at the officers through the closed door.

Officers then retreated and called for backup and SWAT support, Carroll said.

Once additional personnel arrived, police made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the man in the room before looking inside and seeing a man lying prone on the floor. They then entered the room and found the man dead with a gunshot wound.

"None of my officers fired any shots," Carroll said.

Carroll said a press release on this incident will be distributed early Monday.

Patch correspondent Keith Heffintrayer contributed to this story with a report from the scene.

Update 9:35pm: County radio reports have indicated that have numerous attempts to contact the occupant of a room at the hotel, police have entered the room and found the body of a deceased male. We are awaiting a briefing from authorities and continue to try to obtain more information.

Earlier story follows.

Police have surrounded a Lower Providence motel after an earlier report of three gunshots fired at that location.

County radio reports indicated that police had established a perimeter around the property of the Blue Eagle Motel on Ridge Pike.

Police have reportedly evacuated a number of residences in the vicinity of the motel.

Ridge Pike is closed between Level Road and Eagleville Road. Residents of the roadblocked area who were away when the roadblocks were erected are not being allowed to return to their homes.

Shortly after 8:00pm, an armored tactical vehicle was seen headed west on Ridge Pike past the police roadblock at Eagleville Road.

Police asked a reporter at the scene to await a press briefing near Brother Paul's restaurant. We'll continue to try to obtain more information.

David Powell November 14, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Jason, given the circumstances and the information available, it certainly seems that it was self-inflicted. I think the police were just being circumspect about making a public announcement to that effect. The coroner will make the official determination.
Kayla Maris November 14, 2011 at 11:09 PM
i heard at school that the guy was a serial killer, is that true or gossip?
Keith Heffintrayer November 14, 2011 at 11:15 PM
@Kayla - That would be gossip. The police said they were executing a state parole warrant, since he failed to appear for his check-in. He was initially in prison for burglary, and there's no evidence of any killing, much less the serial variety. Thanks for reading!
ashlee November 15, 2011 at 05:19 PM
Okay I jus want to let u no kayla tht gy who was found dead had kids and a family I no this off hand because I was one of his kids he was far from a serial killer ! Everyone has questions but no1 will ever no y he did the thing he did !
Robyn November 19, 2011 at 10:51 AM
R.I.P MR. NORRIS!!!! ASHLEE WE LOVE YOU I SO SORRY FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY'S LOSS.

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