The three people killed in Pennsylvania car explosion knew one another

Investigators are searching for answers at the scene of a weekend car explosion that left three people dead ...

Posted: Oct 3, 2018 10:12 AM
Updated: Oct 3, 2018 10:12 AM

Investigators are searching for answers at the scene of a weekend car explosion that left three people dead in Pennsylvania, including a father and his toddler son.

Jacob Schmoyer, 26, and his 2-year-old son, Jonathan, were killed in the explosion Saturday in Allentown, Coroner Scott Grim told reporters. He identified the third person killed as David Hallman, 66, and said the three Allentown residents died from traumatic injuries caused by the explosion.

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Schmoyer and Hallman were friends, according to Don Robinson of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Philadelphia. He described the explosion as an isolated incident with no ongoing threats, and said authorities hope to finish processing the scene by Tuesday.

"We have a high degree of confidence that the perpetrator was probably killed in the incident," Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin told CNN affiliate WFMZ earlier.

'If he was doing anything ... it was not intentional'

Jacob Schmoyer's sister, Tina Schmoyer, said her brother was a wonderful brother, father and son.

"Whenever you needed him he would come. I could call him at any hours, and he would answer and show up at my door," she said.

Her brother was a "very sweet, kindhearted person" who would never hurt his son, whom he adored, she said.

She said she called the boy "Bubba."

"He would come running with a huge smile on his face and his arms wide open," Tina Schmoyer said of Jonathan.

The boy's great-grandmother, Kathleen Pond, told WFMZ that Jacob Schmoyer, who lived with the toddler and the child's mother, was interested in fixing things. He was also interested in fireworks, she told the station.

"If he was doing anything ... it was not intentional, it was strictly curiosity and probably some bad judgment," she said.

Pond had her theories about the possible cause of explosion.

"If I hear that it was a problem with something in the car, such as he had chemicals for cleaning and hadn't taken them out, and there was a problem with the car, my heart will be a little lighter."

The explosion rocked homes

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

Allentown police arrived at the scene after getting 911 calls about the explosion around 9:30 p.m., police said.

Neighbors found pieces of the burning car and human remains on the street, the affiliate reported. The explosion felt like it rocked their homes, neighbors told the station.

Allentown is about 60 miles north of Philadelphia.

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