While the tragedy has been labeled the "Hurricane Murders," it would probably be more appropriate to categorize the story as another case of domestic violence that perhaps could have been prevented. LINK. At the center of controversy was Leonard John Egland, a 37 year-old soldier from Fort Lee, Va., Egland was found dead from self inflicted gun shot wounds Sunday afternoon in a suburb of Philadelphia. Egland was supected of killing his ex-wife (Carrie Egland), her boyfriend, her boyfriend's son and his ex-mother-in-law (66-year-old Barbara Reuhl.) Egland had recently returned from the latest of three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Egland had no known criminal record but he apparently had enough bitter feelings concerning his ex-wife that he placed her on the same level as the Taliban in his eyes.
On Saturday night, Egland went to St. Luke's Hospital in Quakertown and tried to leave his young daughter (Lauryn) with a note. After a male nurse or orderly confronted him, he flashed a pistol and the the police were called. Egland left his 6 year-old daughter at the hospital and departed in a black pickup. Just before midnight, police stopped the truck in Doylestown Township. Egland allegedly fired shots that hit a Doylestown officer in the arm and shattered a windshield that apparently cut a Dublin officer. Egland was able to temporarily evade police while everyone was preparing for Hurricane Irene. On Sunday at around 4:00 a.m., Egland's pickup was spotted at a restaurant in a Warwick Township shopping center. Shots were fired but no one was injured. Later that day, police were tracking Egland down when he apparently turned the gun on himself. A rifle and pistol were found with the body.
Compare Egland with Albert Luis Alvarez. Alvarez is also 37 years-old and has a daughter. Alvarez, a Chicago man, has been arrested 99 times. He was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison after allegedly going door-to-door with his 3-year-old daughter in suburban Riverside "looking for new victims to con." Alvarez's gig was to push a stroller around begging for money. He told strangers that he was disabled and needed money to support his young daughter. He apparently dropped bags of drugs on the ground when police confronted him. Chicago Tribune reports. Fox Chicago reports.
Police realized he had 98 prior arrests and 23 convictions, CBS. His convictions include burglary, robbery, larceny, assault, drugs and smuggling. Records are consistent with conflicting dates of birth, names and Social Security numbers all believed to be part of his different aliases. Alvarez pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for destroying drugs. Like Egland, charges of child endangerment were possible. Unlike Egland who was a soldier, Alvarez did not fire a gun at police nor did he take his own life. Perhaps in the end, Alvarez has started choosing a better path. Only time will tell.