The FBI and police in three states are hunting for a University of Connecticut student suspected in a terrifying three-day crime spree that included two murders, a home-invasion robbery, and a kidnapping.
Peter Manfredonia, 23, was last spotted on foot in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, carrying a large duffel bag that may contain weapons stolen from one of the victims.
“We know that he is armed and dangerous,” Connecticut State Trooper Christine Jeltema said at a press conference. “Do not approach him.”
Manfredonia, 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, is a former high school football player from the Sandy Hook section of Newtown, Connecticut, the community devastated by a 2012 school massacre.
His Facebook page contained posts about the need to reduce gun violence and fundraisers for Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit created after the mass shooting. But the page had not been updated since last year.
Authorities have been looking for Manfredonia since Friday, when he was seen leaving the scene of a brutal assault on two older men in Willington, Connecticut.
Cynthia DeMers, whose husband, Theodore, was killed, told the Hartford Courant that Manfredonia had been walking down their road 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 gravely wounded by what was described only as an “edged” instrument. DeMers, a woodworker, could not be revived, and police said the second victim’s injuries were extremely serious.
It’s believed that late Friday night, while on the run, Manfredonia broke into a house in Willington and held the owner captive for a day before leaving with food, long guns, 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 Sunday morning, as Derby police warned on Facebook: “Residents are asked to remain vigilant as this suspect is considered armed and highly dangerous.”
But Manfredonia wasn’t in the park. As police would soon reveal, he had headed to a Derby home where he allegedly killed an acquaintance, 23-year-old Nicholas J. Eisele, stole a black Volkwagen Jetta, and abducted Eisele’s girlfriend.
Later Sunday, police said, Manfredonia abandoned the car and the woman in New Jersey, near the Pennsylvania border. He was then spotted in East Stroudsburg in dark shorts and a white shirt.
UConn confirmed Manfredonia is enrolled in its School of Engineering/School of Business program but said he was not living on campus.
In an August 2019 Facebook post following several mass shootings, Manfredonia wrote: “An irrefutable factor in this plague of violence effecting the nation MUST be attributed extremist views brought about by an environment that promotes toxic masculinity while enabling individuals with a dangerously severe lack of sympathy/remorse to freely acquire firearms. How much more will it take for people to understand SOMETHING in our system isn’t working and action needs to be taken? Remember the victims, not the shooters or their ideology.”