Woman Killed in Crossfire; Gunman Surrenders, Police Say

Police said during an exchange of gunfire, a downstairs neighbor of the alleged gunman in a Warminster apartment was struck and killed from her wounds at the scene.

Editor's Note: The victim of the shooting has been identified as Marie Zienkewicz, who was 89. A previous version of this story reported that she was 90.

An 89-year-old neighbor of the man involved in a shootout with police at a Warminster apartment complex Tuesday evening was killed in the crossfire, officials said.

Warminster Chief of Police Michael Murphy would not immediately release the victim's name, as she had not yet been positively identified by the coroner. Murphy said her family, however, had been notified. At this time, it is unclear how the woman got shot.

According to Murphy, the gunman, Andrew Graham Cairns, 49, surrendered to police at approximately 2:30 a.m.

Murphy said the incident began around 4 p.m. Tuesday, when police responded to a domestic dispute in the 2000 building of the Jefferson on the Creek apartments on Street Road.

He said the residents were referred to a caseworker after the initial call, but another call reporting shots fired from the same location came in around 7:40 p.m.

“When the officers approached the 2000 building, they came under fire from an upstairs apartment,” Murphy said, during a press conference early Wednesday morning. 

“During the exchange of gunfire, the downstairs neighbor of the gunman, a 90-year-old female, was struck by gunfire and died from her wounds at the scene,” he said.

Murphy said the woman was hit in the exchange of gunfire but it was not clear by whom.

According to Murphy, Cairns subsequently barricaded himself inside the apartment where he holed up for the next seven hours, until a negotiator talked to him over the phone and coaxed him out.

Murphy said during the standoff between 30 to 50 residents of the 2000 building and the nearby 1900 building of the Jefferson on the Creek Apartments were evacuated to a Red Cross reception area at William Tennent High School.

He said the displaced residents were in the process of being returned to their homes at the time of the press conference, around 4:30 a.m.

Murphy said Cairns is being held on aggravated assault charges, but he anticipates additional charges will be filed.  Cairns will be arraigned later today.

The investigation into the incident is being handled by the Bucks County District Attorney’s office.  

Read More:

  • Investigators Spend Day at Apartment Complex Crime Scene
  • Man Accused of Shooting at Police Held on $10 Million Bail
  • Police Standoff has Residents Talking
  • Police Surround Alleged Gunman in Warminster
James Kephart Jr. February 24, 2013 at 07:51 PM
anonymous, Officer Schmalz is being railroaded on a technicality! Did the police union abandon him? Or do they just disagree with me?
Dolores Forget February 25, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Everyone is a critic... how many of you go to work each day with the potential to be SHOT at? Have you ever tried to fire and hit a target under stress? I don't care how practiced you are, it is difficult. Regardless of who the actual bullet was from, the suspect is responsible for this woman's death because he created the situation.
Sandy February 25, 2013 at 09:20 AM
I heard the bullet came thru her front door. There was no way it was fired by the gunman. What the police need is more target practice and safety classes. If my 14 year old son can shoot a rifle and hit a deer at long range, why can't these trained officers learn how to aim and shoot at the target?
anonymous February 25, 2013 at 02:26 PM
You are so right! People just don't want to accept the fact that more lives could have been lost if the police hadn't showed up when they did! Obviously,he eventually stopped the random shooting when they returned fire! He didn't want to get shot! The weezle surrendered too! Such a coward! I have more respect for those who kill themselves afterwards! At least we don't have to pay for their defense and to house them in prison! This guy will cost the tax payers plenty! Where is the outrage there! But yet everyone chooses to take this crap out on the police! You can train all you want! No one ever knows exactly how you are going to react to being shot at until you are! I would like all of these big mouths out there to try it!
anonymous February 25, 2013 at 03:54 PM
I've got news for everybody! When this investigation concludes,if the bullet that killed the woman came from a policeman's gun, ( it very well may have),the perp who caused this mess will be charged in some way with her death! His criminal actions are what resulted in her getting shot! Their is nothing criminal in the acts of the police!They were just doing their jobs! Unfortunately, in the commision of a crime an innocent bystander was killed! Accidents happen! Everyone here is human and we all make mistakes! But it's easy for some to spout off when the mistakes that they make at their jobs don't involve potential risk to others! Such as doctors,nurses, emt's and law enforcement! The family will have the right to sue the Warminster Police Dept. in civil court! So there will be more money taken out of the hands of the taxpayer! All because of one crazy nut,who has changed the lives of many forever! Remember who is really at fault here!
Pete Krenshaw February 25, 2013 at 04:00 PM
and bullets never change trajectory when encountering branches? Let's just wait and see what the all evidence says before jumping to conclusions .
anonymous February 25, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Is your son under stress when he's getting ready to shoot the deer? Is the deer shooting at him? Can he easily see the deer through his scope? Little different circumstance when you are trying to stop someone who's shooting at you in a barracaded building and not exactly standing out in the open like that deer! Right!
anonymous February 25, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Just more stupid comments from people who don't know what the hell they are talking about!
Bud February 25, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Cops killed the woman, I would bet.. But it would have never happen without the idiot in the apartment. He should be charged with her murder.
Dolores Forget February 25, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Generally, when reading the news and comments I find it interesting how driving under the influence and killing your friends, speeding killing/injuring an innocent person and other things that tend to occur when one is breaking the law are often categorized as "mistakes" yet in situations where a person dies or is injured by someone in a service capacity while they are assisting or protecting the public (Police Officer, EMT,etc.,) people are quick to assign blame. It is crime what has happened to this 89 year old woman, however, the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the person who drank and drugged all day and decided to shoot at the police. This could have been much worse.
Pete Krenshaw February 25, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Let's not forget the time of day of when this went down either... Sandy LKR, when was the last time your son went out hunting with his scoped rifle at night? Usually when one goes hunting, the pressure of the situation is a bit different then when someone is shooting back at you at night. Nothing like being pinned down along a creek by large caliber ammo...
tracy February 26, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Unless the guy shot through the floor I dont see how he could hit someone downstairs.If he was shooting out the window at the cops,and the cops were shooting back,maybe an officer thought it was the man they were shooting at,that is why there are no explanation as to how she got shot,but my bet is the bullet came from an officers gun.
Pete Krenshaw February 26, 2013 at 04:13 PM
I am inclined to agree that the bullet was most likely fired by the police. That being said, from 100 yards in the dark, shooting from essentially a creek bed through trees which may not have been visible in the conditions (dark), it is possible the bullet changed trajectory from its intended target. But this is purely speculation on my part as the investigation continues, facts of still being collected and are not known to the public yet. Obviously it is a tragedy an innocent person lost their life but I seriously doubt the police were aiming directly at her with the intentions of killing her. Hopefully the questions will be answered soon.
anonymous February 27, 2013 at 08:01 AM
Does anyone actually believe that the police would have intentionally shot and killed this woman! Why and for what reason? I know there are cop haters out there but that is totally absurd! If the bullet came from a cops service weapon it was an accident! Accident!!!!!!! Omg!!!!!
Eric S February 27, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Let's put your son....or anyone else.....under the very serious stress of hostile gunfire and see how he does. I'm all for police training but NO training is realistic to actual live fire from belligerant opposition. Comparing a hunting shot to any police action is not even close to an honest assessment. And let's examine "I heard" statements. Really.....your basing an after action report on "I heard"? Truely an unfair position, the future and reputation of someone is on the line here, yet your going with "I heard". Combat gunfire is a surreal world. What we think it's like is nothing of what it is actually like. It ain't the movies. Now, am I exonerating the PD or any individual officer of any mistake or negligent action....no. But until a through investigation is conducted no one, none of us, have any right to place any blame. Of course other than the man who instigated the entire event. If we are hellbent of placing blame let's start there.
levittown lifer February 28, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Clearly it came from the police officers weapons its been way too long forensics has been back since that afternoon with the results of whose shot killed this lady ~ stop blaming JUST the idiot that caused the whole scene like I said before the more you defend the guiltier you look ~ I am pretty sure at this point it was your husband that fired into this woman and thats why you just cant shut up ~ you say it was an accident but seriously you have pinned the blame solely on the moron that held his girlfriend hostage. Officers should not fire their weapons without clear access to the person they are shooting at thats a fact so when they shot into the apartment downstairs they clearly need help with their aim. You keep talking about all the courses and classes your husband has taken so I again I remind you that officers and their spouses are not allowed to speak about cases publicly yet you just keep going and going which again is why I feel that the gunshot that killed this woman was fired by your husband that you have been protecting since about 3 minutes after the patch listed the story. Of course the officers were not aiming directly at her of course it was not intentional no one said it was intentional all anyone wants is for the police to stand up and take responsibility for their mistake its been way to long to keep dragging this out!!!
Sandy March 01, 2013 at 01:36 AM
anonymous March 01, 2013 at 07:21 AM
Freedom of speech applies to me as well as to you! I have not talked about any info. that is linked with this investigation! I have clearly stated that before! Just showing support for the police! If you knew how to read! I do not know what went on and I also stated that! There is a real possibility that the cops bullet may have killed that woman! I have never said that it wasn't a possibility! If so,it's a terrible accident facilitated by a guy who was intoxicated and decided to put all of those around him in danger and he did not care! If the cops had showed up and did nothing and he kept shooting and possibly hurt others, the cops would have been blamed for that! Damned if you do or you don't! People like you will just never understand and you don't want to! I would like to know what you do for a living! Can't be anything where you serve others I am sure! Keep this in mind, there were many cops from other Townships there! Plus a swat team to assist! The D A's office had stated that results would not be back until the end of this week.... at the earliest!!!! Doesn't mean there's a cover up cause they aren't finished yet! Forensics takes time, they do multiple tests.For instance, the O.J. Simpson trial, forensics took months to complete! You certainly aren't in the science field or you would know this and wouldn't be bitching! But again, you obviously can't read or you just read and believe what you want! You are nothing but a cop hater and most of all an idiot!!!!!!
anonymous March 01, 2013 at 07:35 AM
Couldn't add anymore to the debate Sandy! Oh that's right your'e the hunting expert! I forgot!
michael barrett March 01, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Even if someone is guilty and running from the police, that in no way justifies or vindicates a reckless officer or officers who brazenly fire at that person when there is no imminent threat. Especially not over fifty shots at a man who is running away from them. Police officers are entrusted with a great responsibility to protect us all. They are trained to deal with pressurized, dangerous situations and expected to utilize sound judgement if such an incident arises. They blew it and took a man away from his family, forever. The distinction of guilt or innocence is irrelevant, they killed a man who shouldn't have died and certainly didn't deserve to.
michael barrett March 01, 2013 at 10:32 PM
& now the same police department has killed another person, unjustifiably.
Eric S March 02, 2013 at 02:42 PM
I would just love to see your proof on that. No really, show me the proof. Go ahead, I'm waiting. Or is it you just prefer to run your mouth without the benefit of facts? Geez, you'd be screaming at the top of you lungs if you were accused of a serious crime without evidence, proof or facts yet here you are on a public forum doing exactly that. I hope the PD sues you for libel, because that is what you just did. And in this case the proof is there....you gave it. Your why we should have professional juries. It might eliminate bias from thoughtless people who have an rotten agenda and narrow mind when dealing with someone's life.
Sandy March 02, 2013 at 09:24 PM
The point of my post was that the police need more training, obviously. Why would it be allowed to randomly shoot multiple times into an apt. building filled with civilians. This was done basicly by police high on adrendine. Not the professional way it should have been handled. I understand that the police are there to serve and protect, and many do a wonderful job of it, but in some cases, they do just re-act before considering the outcome. The replys that came because of spoke of the aim of my 14 year old son were totally stupid. If you don't think that sighting a deer for the first time ever was exciting and stressful, your not thinking. At least this child had the sense to aim, take his time, then fire. ONE TIME, hitting his target. If police can't take the time to correctly IDENTIFY, aim and fire their weapons then they should not shoot. That was my point. Anonymous, you just can't face the facts can you.
michael barrett March 02, 2013 at 09:38 PM
michael barrett March 02, 2013 at 09:44 PM
I'm not claiming to be an expert or to knowing all of the facts. I'm not here to give a statement. I'm expressing my opinion from what I've seen, read, and heard. Search the internet and come to your own conclusions, I was simply saying what I've perceived on an article posted on a local website. Geez.
Devon Van Horn March 05, 2013 at 03:32 PM
For everyone that is so up in arms that people are upset that police fired into an occupied apartment complex - and for those who continue to bark about people not being there - I was...My husband and I (5 months pregnant) live here within ear shot/view of the shooters apartment. We were eventually evacuated (7 hours after the start of this event) but prior to the one hour heads up automated phone call, we were informed of nothing other than the news and our friends who live in the complex but housed some swat/snipers in their apartment. The police claimed they evacuated the people - but they didn't - again - until 7 hours later. The news reported that residents still in the building and surrounding building were told by police to stay inside, away from doors and windows, lights off and get on the ground. We weren't. The news told us that. A few of our direct neighbors didn't even know that something was happening. If it weren't for a phone call from a friend - and the ability to hear the helicopter and megaphone messages, we'd have been clueless. A shot could have easily entered our apartment as it did the woman who was unfortunately killed. A little information would have been nice - as well as a little restraint on behalf of the officers. I do NOT hate cops - I RESPECT them and their intense jobs...but when your job is to serve and protect - I do not think you can justify shooting into a building occupied by the same people you are trying to protect.
john fitzgerald March 05, 2013 at 09:57 PM
And now for more breaking news in Warminster...During the week of March 25, Pennsylvania Dog Wardens will be canvassing homes in the Warminster Township area. All dogs must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies. Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court fees. DO NOT OPEN YOUR DOOR. THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO ENTER YOUR PREMISES UNLESS THEY HAVE A SEARCH WARRANT. Local PD have nothing better to do than harass lawbiding citizens. I have license and vaccinations for my pets but will not be inviting the dog warden in for tea! They can check with the Bucks County Treasurer who issued these licenses. They do not need to bang at my door. Just do something more useful to keep the township safe. There is no rabies epidemic among the canine population here so it isn't a public health issue either. Go chase the rabid racoons out there.
Tired of Hypocrisy March 08, 2013 at 06:53 AM
"....and the ability to hear the helicoptor and megaphone messages, we'd have been clueless". Confusing statement since you state that the police did not tell you to stay inside, away from doors and windows, lights out. What exactly then did the megaphone messages tell you that left you informed? Either you were informed or you weren't, but your post suggests contradictory statements. Also, perhaps instead of the police shooting back when shot at, they should have left the gunman run wild throughtout the complex shooting wildly, that way the police would have shown 'restraint' as you wish. Sorry, do not mean to be disrespectful but a little clarity in your post would be helpful for other to know whether or not the residents were informed.
Tired of Hypocrisy March 08, 2013 at 07:01 AM
AshleyW, my sympathy to you on the loss of your friend. Sometimes in life, no matter how 'sweet' someone is, they have another side. Obviously that is the case with your friend. 'Sweet' people do not break laws, lie to police and jump out windows for no reason. Oddly enough, the conclusion you reach on why he fled the home " woke up one morning and heard someone sounding like they're breaking in?" I find it difficult to believe such a "Sweet" person would run and leave their mother there to deal with the so-called intruder(s). If it had been a home invasion, why would he leave his mother alone? Sorry, it does not add up. We can agree to disagree and again, I offer my sympathy to you for the loss, however; if your 'sweet' friend was innocent, he would not have run, that much is obvious.
Devon Van Horn March 08, 2013 at 12:54 PM
I apologize I was unclear. The megaphones were not informing us of anything. They were directed at the shooter. They started off simply with directions on how he could give himself up - like "come downstairs and open the door. Once you open the door, put your hands in the air." They later turned into "Andrew, answer your phone. We aren't going anywhere" and "we just want to make sure you are ok" along with the original megaphone message. The only interaction our neighbors had with the police (apart from the ones stationed in a friend's apartment - which had hours into it became our main source of information as she works for the complex) was when they came outside to see what was going on. They were told to get back inside. Those shouting the directions didn't even identify themselves as police, and a few had to be told a few times to get back inside. Even when we got the evac call after midnight, it only stated that we would be evacuated. One neighbor was very upset as he was awaken by the police to be evacuated and they wouldn't even tell him anything. He thought there was a weather issue or a gas leak or something and was upset he couldn't take his animals. It wasn't until he was in the armored car with us that he was filled in on what was happening...by us. Also - the shooter was not roaming the complex. He was in his apartment and was passed out most of the night. In conclusion - no - the residents were not informed.


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