Jacob Schmoyer, his toddler son, and a friend named David Hallman were identified as the three victims in a mysterious car explosion in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Authorities now say that they believe Schmoyer killed himself, his son and Hallman on purpose in a murder suicide.
All three were killed in the blast. Jacob Schmoyer was 27-years-old; Jonathan Schoyer was 2; and David Hallman was 66-years-old, authorities said. The blast is under investigation by local and federal law enforcement, who now say Schmoyer used a homemade explosive device. The explosion occurred on Saturday, September 29, 2018.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Blast That Killed the Two Men & Baby Was Initially Called a ‘Criminal Incident’ & Schmoyer Sent Letters Explaining His Actions
Authorities said initially that they were treating it as a “criminal incident,” and they said they believed the perpetrator died in the explosion. They did not specify who they thought that was. However, they have now specified that they believe Schmoyer killed his son, himself, and Hallman, saying that he sent letters explaining his actions.
The letter said that “he was miserable, accepted blame for the murders and even detailed how he constructed the device,” according to NBC.
“We have preliminary information on the circumstances we would like to, and need to, follow up on and get conclusive information on that so it would be premature to say anything,” said Agent Don Robinson of the ATF in a news conference. He added later, according to NBC, “”There was a lot of hatred there,” Robinson said. “Some directed at Mr. Hallman and some at his son.”
The comment on the criminal incident came from the Lehigh County District Attorney. However, the ATF agent later said the explosion’s cause “could be anything from an accident to a device, an explosive device.” Now they are saying it was not an accident, though.
Authorities said “a lot of energy was released from this explosion,” but they declined to specify the cause.
2. Jacob Schmoyer’s Family Members Posted Tributes on Facebook & Said He Would Never Harm His Son
Tina Schmoyer, Schmoyer’s sister, told The Morning Call that people were getting the wrong impression of her brother.
“I can tell you that my brother was a wonderful father, son and brother,” she said to the newspaper. “Whenever you needed him he would come. I could call him at any hours and he would answer and show up at my door. My brother was never the kind of person everyone is making him out to be. He was a very sweet, kindhearted person. My brother adored his son and would never do anything that would harm him.”
Kathleen Pond, Schmoyer’s grandmother, called the explosion a tragic accident.
“The car that exploded last night in Allentown was my family,” wrote Jamie Rehrig on Facebook. She has created a GoFundMe account for funeral expenses.
“My baby cousin and his father were in the car. Please pray for our family as we will all be going through this hard time together. This is not what I expected to hear when I first heard the news. It still seems like a dream. Please don’t ever take your loved ones for granted, you’ll never know when it’s the last time you’ll see them or hear their voice.”
3. On Facebook, Schmoyer Wrote About Judaism & Depicted Himself as an Avatar Character
Jacob Schmoyer’s Facebook page mostly contains selfies and a few graphics with sayings. One of them is a reference to Hashem, the name that God is given in Judaism.
His page also contained a side-by-side photo college of him mimicking a character in the movie Avatar, and a graphic with a saying – illegitimis non carborundum – that is commonly interpreted as meaning “don’t let the bastards grind you down.”
He wrote on Facebook that he went to Parkland High School, lived in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and was in a relationship. He didn’t have many people on his friend list. One close relative has a page filled with religious commentary about Hashem as well. “I don’t follow Christianity or their Christian Messiah JC,” that page’s cover photo proclaims.
4. A LinkedIn Page for David Hallman Lists Him as a ‘Machinery Professional’
A LinkedIn page for David Hallman of Allentown, Pennsylvania described him as a “machinery professional” living in Allentown.
For the past eight years, he wrote, he had worked as a “utility person” for an Allentown paper company, where he did things like “general warehouse labor,” “cutting and bundling inserts,” and “preparing items for shipping.”
Before that job, he held similar positions. For example, he was a material hauler whose job duties included casting grinders and removing material chips; he also ran small machinery for a local company in the past. His LinkedIn page says he had a certificate in basic computers form the Lehigh County Center and a high school diploma in graphic arts in Pennsylvania.
Online records show Hallman had lived in various communities throughout Pennsylvania over the years. A neighbor told The Morning Call that Hallman was a helpful person devoted to his dog and watched over the neighborhood.
5. Hallman & Schmoyer Were Friends
Authorities have not said much about why Hallman and Schmoyer were together when it exploded nor have they given details about how they knew each other.
However, they have indicated that David Hallman and Jacob Schmoyer were “friends.”
Authorities told the Morning Call that Hallman and Schmoyer met at 9:30 p.m. and they were still trying to figure out why. They lived near each other, and it’s now believed both Hallman and the child were inside the car when it exploded. Hallman’s dog survived the blast.