A manhunt is underway for a University of Connecticut student suspected of killing two people and stealing guns and cars in a three-day rampage.
“We know that he is armed and dangerous,” Connecticut State Trooper Christine Jeltema said at a Sunday press conference. “Do not approach him.”
In the early afternoon, police said suspect Peter Manfredonia, 23, was driving a stolen black Volkswagen Jetta with a sticker paying tribute to victims of the Sandy Hook massacre in his hometown of Newtown. Hours later they said that car had been found empty near the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Police have been looking for Manfredonia since Friday when he was seen leaving the scene of a brutal assault on two older men.
Cynthia DeMers, whose husband Theodore was killed, told the Hartford Courant that Manfredonia had been walking down their road in Willington and needed a ride to his motorcycle.
“It could have been anybody who offered him a ride,” she told the newspaper. “It could have been any of my neighbors’ husbands. It just happened to be mine.”
Minutes after her husband and neighbor left with the suspect, her husband and the other man were found. DeMers could not be revived, and police said the second victim’s injuries were extremely serious. They did not describe the injuries.
It’s believed that on Saturday night, Manfredonia broke into a house in Willington, swiped long guns and a pistol and a car—which was later found abandoned after a crash near Osbornedale State Park in Derby.
SWAT teams and K-9 units swarmed the park, as Derby police warned on Facebook: “Residents are asked to remain vigilant as this suspect is considered armed and highly dangerous.”
Hours later, police said they believed Manfredonia had escaped the area. Even more chillingly, they said the investigation had determined that his most recent stop was a Derby home where he allegedly killed an acquaintance, 23-year-old Nicholas J. Eisele, and stole the getaway Jetta.
Manfredonia is 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, and wearing a gray T-shirt, gray sweatpants. He played football for Newtown High School and his Facebook page—which has not been updated since last year—shows he has raised money for Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit that fights gun violence.
UConn confirmed Manfredonia is enrolled in its School of Engineering/School of Business program but said he was not living on campus.