Butler Twp. shooting: 4 dead, police ID person of interest

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August 6 – Four people were shot and killed late Friday morning in a quiet neighborhood in Butler Twp., and police said Friday afternoon they were looking for a person of interest in connection with the crime.

Butler Twp. Police Chief John Porter said officers were sent to the Hardwicke Place and Haverstraw Avenue area around 11:45 a.m. and found “multiple crime scenes” and four victims with gunshot wounds. All four people died on the spot.

The chief identified 39-year-old Stephen Marlow as a person of interest in the deaths. Police described him as a 5-foot 11,160-pound white male with short brown hair. He was last seen in shorts and a yellow T-shirt, and Porter said he may have been driving a white 2007 Ford Edge SUV with the Ohio license plate JES-9806.

Two houses were surrounded by crime scene tape near the intersection of Hardwicke and Haverstraw. One of the houses, in the 7200 block of Hardwicke, shares part of a back fence with a house in the 2600 block of Haverstraw owned by a Marlow family, according to county property records.

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“If anyone (Stephen) sees Marlow or knows of the vehicle, they should call 911 immediately and not approach him as he is likely armed and dangerous,” Porter said. “We don’t believe there is an ongoing threat to the area at this time, but we will continue to have crews in the area in case Marlow should return.”

The names of the victims have not been released and it is unclear what led to the shooting.

“We are in the process of determining whether there is a motive for this terrible tragedy or whether mental illness played a role,” Porter said.

A man at the scene of Friday’s shooting would not give his name, but said his daughter and granddaughter were killed in the shooting.

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The Butler Twp. The neighborhood where the shooting took place is about a mile west of the Miller Lane development, just south of Little York Road.

“This is the first violent crime in this neighborhood in recent times,” Porter said.

Wendy Chapman lives next door to one of the houses in Hardwicke Place, wrapped in tape.

“I don’t know how to feel. I’m still stunned,” she said, describing the neighborhood as “so quiet. … Right now I’m angry. I feel violated. My question is why. I can’t even imagine.”

She described her neighbors – a couple and their daughter – as a “nice, normal family.”

“We weren’t close, but always very friendly. Their teenage daughter, she was friendly,” Chapman said. “We would always see them there when we were mowing grass and always talking back and forth. You know…just neighbor stuff.”

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Porter encouraged residents in the area to remain vigilant and review any security camera footage from earlier Friday.

“We are asking anyone with any information about this incident or Marlow’s whereabouts to call our hotline at 937-233-2080.”

Stephen A. Marlow, 39, of Haverstraw Avenue, was convicted in February 2020 of aggravated burglary and aggravated threat, following a July 2019 incident in Vandalia. He was sentenced to five years of community control, but that probation was ended on Feb. 9, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court documents.

Porter said Butler Twp. The police received support from the Vandalia Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, as well as state and federal officials. He said the Dayton Bomb Squad was called in as “an abundance of caution” to ensure there are no further imminent threats to the normally quiet neighborhood.

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