Tragedy was averted last November thanks to the quick-thinking and composure of police responding to a report of a possible active shooter in a quiet Doylestown Borough neighborhood, Deputy District Attorney Thomas C. Gannon said in a Bucks County courtroom Aug. 25.
Central Bucks Regional police had been dispatched to a home on Belmont Square in Doylestown Borough at 3:40 p.m. Nov. 7, 2019. The caller told police she heard about a dozen shots fired from a neighbor’s home.
The first officer to arrive on the scene, CRPD officer Michael Frugoli, was flagged down by a man looking out the second floor of a home who made incoherent statements that he was acting in self-defense and shooting at intruders in his home.
Frugoli asked the man, later identified as Christopher Dalrymple, if he was still armed and when he said he was, the officer took a secure position and radioed for additional units and the Central Bucks Special Response Team. As police established a perimeter and used an armored personnel carrier to evacuate residents, more shots were fired inside the home.
After almost two hours, Dalrymple surrendered. No one was injured and authorities later determined that Dalrymple was on drugs when he fired several rounds from an AR-15 rifle inside his home, which went through the walls and struck a neighbor’s home and a police vehicle outside.
While the day ended with no casualties, Gannon told Common Pleas Judge Raymond F. McHugh that the neighborhood will forever be shaken by what happened that day. “The impact upon the community cannot be stated enough,” Gannon said in court. McHugh sentenced Dalrymple, 22, now of Lansdale, to 10 to 23 months to be served at Bucks County Correctional Facility and pay $9,454.09 in restitution for the damage he caused.
Dalrymple pleaded guilty June 23 to one count each of discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct and three counts of reckless endangerment.
At the sentencing, a neighbor testified she was working from home when she heard the cracking sounds of what she believed to be gunshots coming from outside. At the time, she said, her children would have been walking home from their nearby elementary school.
She later found that five bullets had hit her home, including two in the area where she had been working. “Our lives were shaken to the core that day,” she testified.
In addition to the damage caused to the neighbor’s home, a Warrington Township police vehicle was also struck by gunfire.
McHugh praised the work of police in keeping the neighborhood safe. “People could have been killed, people could have been hurt,” he said. “This was outstanding police work.”