ELKLAND, Pa. -- A police visit requested by concerned friends of a mentally ill man who hadn't been heard from in weeks turned deadly early Wednesday when state troopers shot and killed him, ending a 14-hour standoff that began when he shot and wounded a trooper.
Police said they entered the home of Delos Lowe through an unlocked door and were met with gunfire from the disabled military veteran, who friends said had a long history of mental illness.
Maria Phelps, the owner of a pizza shop that often delivered to Lowe, said she called 911 to ask police to check on Lowe when she and her staff hadn't heard from him in several weeks. She added that she told authorities he was mentally ill and had weapons in the home.
“I was very adamant about the fact he's not OK,” she told WENY.
After the initial shooting, the state police's Special Emergency Response Team swarmed the scene in rural northern Pennsylvania as Lowe barricaded himself inside, authorities said.
Lowe fired at police numerous times throughout the standoff in Nelson Township, in Tioga County, and refused their attempts to get him to surrender, state police said. Police shot and killed him around 2 a.m., they said.
A friend, Allen Potter, told The Associated Press that Lowe had schizophrenia and had stopped taking his medication.
Potter, who has known Lowe for more than 45 years, said his friend lived alone and had become withdrawn and paranoid, shooing Potter away when he tried visiting.
“I tried seeing him over the last few years, and he was too far gone to even let me in the house,” Potter said. “If I had predicted that any one of my friends would do something like this, it would be him.”
The trooper who was shot was listed in stable condition Wednesday.
A second trooper suffered a leg injury. He was treated and released, authorities said.
State police said three troopers went to the home on Tuesday to conduct a welfare check. Police said the troopers announced themselves, failed to get a response and then entered the home. They called out again, they said, and that's when Lowe opened fire. The troopers retreated and requested backup, police said.
The shooting took place on a sparsely populated road just over the New York state line.
Potter said Lowe advised him to join the military as a young man to escape an abusive home. Years later, when Potter served in the Gulf War, Lowe bought a satellite dish so he could follow the news from the Middle East. “He was so worried,” Potter recalled.
Lowe also offered Potter a place to stay when he came home from the war.
"If he was your friend, he was your friend all the way," Potter said. “I'm really hurting now.”