2 Adults, 2 Children Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide Involving Former Cop: Police
A former Maryland police officer is dead after he was allegedly involved in a suspected murder-suicide.
Maryland State Police identified Baltimore residents Robert Vicosa, 41, and Tia Bynum, 35, on Thursday as two people found in a car Thursday afternoon that matched the description of the suspect vehicle involved in multiple felonies including child abduction and carjacking.
Vicosa was an officer with the Baltimore County Police Department for 17 years, local station WGAL reported. He had reportedly been terminated in August after being demoted to an officer from a sergeant. Bynum had also reportedly worked for the department for 14 years.
Two young children, who police believe are Vicosa's daughters, were in the car as well. Vicosa, Bynum and one of the girls were pronounced dead on the scene; the other young girl was taken by medevac to Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, where she was pronounced dead.
Earlier in the day, police had launched a manhunt for Vicosa and Bynum, who they said were armed with "at least one handgun and possibly several semiautomatic rifles." The pair had allegedly robbed and kidnapped a person in Cockeysville, Baltimore County, police said.
Just before 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Pennsylvania State Police alerted Maryland State Police of the vehicle, a grey Ford Edge, police said in a press release obtained by PEOPLE.
PSP attempted a traffic stop, but the Edge "veered off of the road, struck a culvert and came to rest in a grassy area off of Route 418/Ringgold Road in Smithsburg, Maryland," police said, and MSP quickly arrived on the scene.
Troopers from the Special Tactical Assault Team Element and the Crisis Negotiation Team attempted contact with Vicosa and Bynum with no success. They finally used sponge rounds to access the car, finding that "the driver was incapacitated with apparent gunshot wounds."
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"Troopers took immediate action to get further inside the vehicle to check the welfare of the children in the back seat. All four individuals appeared to have suffered apparent gunshot wounds," police said.
All four occupants have since been transported to Baltimore's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.
Investigators found an assault rifle as well as other firearms inside the car and are currently still working to find a motive. The investigation remains ongoing.
Before they were found dead, Vicosa and Bynum had "carjacked an individual, forcing him to drive these two suspects throughout several different locations across the Baltimore metropolitan area. This victim was later released unharmed," Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said in a press conference Thursday morning, according to WGAL.
Police had been urging the public to call 911 if Vicosa and Bynum were spotted, and stressed that the safety of the children was their top priority.
"Please get these two innocent and precious children to a safe location. You can drop them off at a public safety facility or any other safe location with a responsible adult to care for them," Hyatt said at the press conference, per WGAL.