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Hunt intensifies after US shootings

The search is intensifying for a man suspected of going to three houses and shooting dead six people, including his ex-wife and her 14-year-old niece.

Suspect Bradley William Stone, 35, remains at large, causing one local school district to close schools as a precaution.

Residents of nearby communities were asked to remain indoors as the manhunt spread to their areas.

Stone's former wife, 33-year-old Nicole Stone, was found dead after a neighbour saw him fleeing just before 5am local time on Monday with their two young daughters.

Police then made the grim discovery of five people killed in two other houses: Stone's sister, brother-in-law and 14-year-old niece were dead. A 17-year-old nephew was left fighting for life. And her mother and grandmother had been fatally shot.

Veteran Marine Brad Stone and his ex-wife had been locked in a court fight over their children's custody since she filed for divorce in 2009.

"She would tell anybody who would listen that he was going to kill her and that she was really afraid for her life," said neighbour Evan Weron.

Neighbours woke to the sounds of breaking glass and gunshots coming from Nicole Stone's apartment early on Monday.

They alerted authorities after seeing her ex-husband racing away with the children. The girls were later found safe with his neighbours, District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

The rampage started at the home of Brad Stone's former sister-in-law and ended about 90 minutes later at Nicole Stone's apartment in a nearby town, Ms Ferman said.

Nicole Stone's sister, Patricia Flick, her sister's husband, Aaron Flick, and the couple's 14-year-old daughter, Nina Flick, were killed in the first wave of violence, which was not discovered until nearly 8am.

Their 17-year-old son, Anthony Flick, was pulled from the house with a head wound and was taken in an armoured vehicle and then by helicopter to a Philadelphia hospital for treatment.

Nicole Stone's mother, Joanne Hill, and grandmother Patricia Hill were killed next at their home. Investigators were alerted by a call to emergency services, Ms Ferman said.

Brad and Nicole Stone married in 2004 and filed for divorce in 2009, court records show. Nicole Stone became engaged over the summer, neighbours said.

Stone remarried last year, according to his Facebook page, and has an infant son. Neither his wife nor the son were injured. His wife's Facebook page shows their son and Stone's daughters having their picture taken with Santa on Saturday.

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