A gunman taken into custody in a daring dawn raid by police Tuesday is to be questioned over five murders in 48 hours – the killing of his Facebook friend and her daughters and two grandparents near his home.
George Brinkman faced questioning after he was led away in handcuffs at dawn.
Brinkman, 45, had threatened to shoot himself with a pistol after downing whisky during the stand-off before being Tasered and arrested.
He was suspected of being involved in the murders of Suzanne Taylor, 45, and her daughters Taylor Pifer, 21, and eighteen-year-old Kylie.
So far police have not said exactly how he knew her but they were Facebook friends and he liked many of her posts, commenting on one that she was a ‘queen’.
But hours after his arrest, police said they will also talk to him about the murders of Rogell Eugene John II, 71, – known as Gene – and his wife, Roberta John, 64, known as Bobbi, whose bodies were found at their home on Mount Pleasant St, NE, Lake Township, North Canton, on Monday.
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Arrested: A shirtless George Brinkman is led away from the scene after being apprehended during a dawn raid in Ohio
Unclear relationship: Police are investigating exactly how Brinkman knew Suzanne Taylor, who was his Facebook friend
Facewbook friendship: Brinkman commented on some of victim Suzanne Taylor’s (left) pictures (right) and liked many more of her posts
Loss: Taylor Pifer, 21, her mom Suzanne Taylor, 45, and sister Kylie, 18, were all found murdered in their home in North Royalton. They were ‘tucked in the same bed’, police said
Victims: Gene and Bobbi John were found dead at their home in North Canton by their son. Their cousin Nancy McKinney paid tribute on Facebook saying: ‘They were some of the best people in the world.’
Brinkman lived only minutes from the home of the John family at North Canton. The seniors’ bodies were found when their son tried and failed to contact them after they had returned from vacation on Sunday.
John was a Vietnam veteran who had served as a combat engineer and had posted about his pride in the uniform. He held a Bronze Star.
North Royalton Detective Dave Loeding said Brinkman was in possession of evidence that linked him to the deaths of the Johns – for whom Brinkman had been housesitting.
Detectives investigating the murder of Taylor and her daughters did not know Brinkman was house sitting for the Johns when they asked police colleagues 50 miles away to help them catch their suspect.
Officers from North Royalton contacted police in North Canton alerting them that their wanted man had been staying in their area and provided several addresses.
But the John’s address was not flagged or on the list of his known whereabouts.
Brinkman had been looking after the John’s bungalow while they enjoyed a beach holiday and had been walking their dog.
He is said to have shot them dead with a .45 caliber pistol when they returned on Sunday. Their suitcases were still unpacked.
The killer left both seniors dead in their bedroom with a blanket over their bodies. Mr
Bobbi John was in the bed while her husband was on the bedroom floor, with part of a blanket draped over his body.
Suzanne Taylor and her daughters were also ‘tucked up’ under a blanket in bed at their home after being murdered.
Police have yet to release details of how Brinkman was known to the three women.
Law enforcement in North Canton are working on the theory that robbery may have been the reason the Johns were murdered with their suspect intending to use the money to flee after the five murders.
Brinkman was a drifter with no fixed address and had worked for the John family at a warehouse they owned.
Several years ago he had briefly dated Mrs John’s daughter as well.
Unclear: Stark County Sheriff George Maier, who issued arrest warrants for Brinkman for double murder, said he did not know what the relationship was between the alleged multiple murderer, Suzanne Taylor and her daughters.
After allegedly murdering the couple, he fled to Brunswick where he was detained at dawn Tuesday. Police had traced him through the GPS signal on his cell phone.
Brinkman, 45, was confronted and subdued with a Taser by SWAT officers at 5.30 a.m. after they gained entry through an unlocked door to the Brunswick house where he had barricaded himself.
Moments later a shirtless Brinkman, who had been seen brandishing a handgun, was led away by police on foot from the home and then taken to hospital for evaluation.
‘That was some good work by our tactical officers,’ said Brunswick Police Lt. Robert Safran.
Stark County Sheriff George Maier, who issued arrest warrants for Brinkman for double murder, said he did not know what the relationship was between the alleged multiple murderer, Suzanne Taylor and her daughters.
‘There is a relationship there, but I do not know what it is,’ he said. I have heard he was in a relationship with the mother, but I can’t confirm it at this stage.’
It is unclear if that relationship was immediately after her death or before. They may also have attended high school together.
MURDER OF A HERO
Veteran Gene John had a Bronze Star for his service in the Army in Vietnam.
He had served as a combat engineer in the 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion from 1969 until 1970.
John posted on a Facebook group for the unit’s veteran: ‘Got plenty of hiking with the 65th in 69 -70 while using a metal detector.
‘Love you guys. First in ……Never Out. Always a combat engineer.’
He served first in Bravo Company, then HHQ S-3 in Cu Chi, in what was then Saigon and is now Hi Chi Minh City. John held the rank of sergeant at the time.
The 65th was part of the 25th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Tropic Lightning, or the Cu Chi National Guard.
The three women were found dead at their home in nearby North Royalton on Sunday ‘tucked up in the same bed’, according to Cleveland.Com.
Taylor had suffered a stab wound, while police have yet to release the cause of death of her daughters.
At the moment it is unclear what relation Brinkman had to the murdered women or how he knew them.
However, Brinkman is Facebook friends with the victims and has often ‘liked’ their pictures. Brinkman has criminal records for forgery and theft.
He was first arrested in September 1998 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio and was charged with receiving stolen property and the unauthorized access of a computer system.
He pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to probation. In December 1999 he was charged again with forgery, theft and receiving stolen property and was sentenced to 11 months in prison in February 2000. He was released in September 2000.
In the hours before the arrest Brinkman, who was armed, had been threatening to take his own life inside the detached home of a friend in Valley Forge Drive, Brunswick.
He was drinking whisky during the standoff and officers were negotiating with him through a bullhorn.
Police marksmen had their guns trained on the house in the darkness and SWAT officers and the FBI surrounded the house.
Murder spree: How the five deaths and the armed siege unfolded from Sunday until Tuesday morning
Service: Gene John, 71, was a Vietnam Army veteran who had seen combat in the war. He posted one picture with an M-60 which he had used during combat engineering operations in tunnels
Pride in the uniform: Gene John had served with distinction in Vietnam. He held a Bronze Star and had held the rank of sergeant as a combat engineer in the 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, part of the 25th Infantry Division
Resolution: Police are seen moving in on a home in Valley Forge Drive, Brunswick, Ohio
Triple homicide: Suzanne Taylor, 45 (far left) has been murdered along with her two daughters, 18-year-old Kylie Pifer (center) and 21-year-old Taylor Pifer (right) in Ohio
Media and civilian bystanders gather outside the police blockade on Valley Forge Drive in Brunswick, Ohio
The FBI and a SWAT team are at the blockade. When police arrived a woman was seen emerging from the house. Pictured above people gathered at the scene
Media and civilian bystanders gathered outside the police blockade on Valley Forge Drive in Brunswick, Ohio
Before Brinkman was arrested, officers said they were attempting to contain him and persuade him to give himself up peacefully.
The road was plunged into darkness as police sealed off the area and ordered residents to stay inside their homes for their own safety.
The drama unfolded around midnight. Neighbors were advised to stay indoors as officers attempted to negotiate with the suspect.
When police arrived a woman was seen emerging from the house.
The alarm was initially raised when the boyfriend of the older of the two daughters came by the family’s residence in North Royalton at around 8pm on Sunday and found the three victims slain in a bedroom.
Investigators initially said that all three of the women suffered gunshot wounds, but later it emerged that the mother had been stabbed to death.
Cleveland19 reported Monday, citing police, that the mother and daughter were still alive Saturday afternoon and were killed sometime that evening.
At around 8pm Sunday, Taylor Pifer’s boyfriend entered the family’s home, found at least one body and contacted Suzanne Taylor’s boyfriend, who then called 911.
The police department on Monday released the call, on which the mother’s bpyfriend tells a dispatcher, referring to Pifer’s boyfriend, ‘He just said there’s a body.’
Suzanne’s boyfriend also tells the 911 dispatcher that he delivered flowers to the house on Saturday but did not see anyone inside,. The bouquet was still outside the home Sunday.
A motive for the killings remains unclear, but police said the case does not involve a suicide. So far, no arrests have been made.
Also a crime scene: The Johns’ family home in Lake Township, North Canton, was where they were found dead by their son a day after returning from vacation
Gone too soon: Taylor (left) studied fashion design at Kent State University; Kylie (ight) major in forensic science at Bowling Green University
Taylor was a senior studying fashion design at Kent State University and played softball.
The 21-year-old wrote in the bio on her Facebook page: ‘Life’s too short to sit and wait for luck to come your way.’
Fox8 reported that Kylie was a sophomore at Bowling Green State University, where she majored in biology and was involved in theater. She would have turned 19 on Sunday.
According to Kylie and Taylor’s stepmother, Sonya Pifer, the sisters’ biological father had been estranged from them for several years, reported Cleveland19.
‘They were great kids… and this totally, totally blind-sided us,’ Sonya Pifer said, fighting back tears.
Officers from the local police department and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation were on the scene overnight and into Monday morning collecting evidence.