Tim Hayburn was at his home Saturday evening when he heard noises nearby that sounded like gunshots, a sound he knows too well from his time living in Philadelphia.

But in Havertown? It couldn't be, the 40-year-old professor recalled thinking to himself.

Those shots, fired in what police described as a random attack, left 29-year-old Narberth native John Le dead. As investigators pored through tips Monday and searched for a suspect, the aftermath rippled through three neighborhoods — the one where Le was shot, the one where he lived, and the third, in Overbrook, where police say the shooter let out a barrage of bullets just before killing Le.

Fatal Shooting in Havertown

Police from Haverford Township and Philadelphia are looking for a man suspected of fatally shooting a 29-year-old man in Havertown on Saturday in what appears to be a random attack. The suspect was also seen 45 minutes earlier firing shots on 77th Street in Philadelphia’s Overbrook Park section.
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Staff Graphic

What prompted the shooting spree remained a mystery, which heightened the tension.

Le's family remained silent, while friends of the young man were reeling.

A graduate of Lower Merion High School and Temple University, Le was gentle and endlessly positive, with a smile nearly always on his face, they said. He loved disc golf and, though naturally quiet, grew close to the friends whom he played with several days a week on a wooded course in Fairmount Park.

On Saturday, hours before his death, he had played a round with friends. On the course, he told Eryck Devan he had recently sent a proposal to Adidas about developing a shoe specifically for the sport.

"He just said, 'I'm really hoping I hear back from them,' " Devan said. "I could tell he had bigger goals."

Le was gunned down just after 6 p.m. as he walked from  a pizzeria to a friend's apartment on the 2300 block of Haverford Road, a stretch with brick apartment buildings, shops, and Wynnewood Lanes bowling alley. Officers found Le shot in the torso, lying in the doorway of the apartment building, as his friend tried to administer first aid.

Police say his cellphone was missing but nothing else appeared to have been stolen.

Haverford Township Police Chief John Viola said surveillance video showed the alleged  attacker walking ahead of Le before the shooting, but did not show the incident itself or offer other clues.

Viola said the department had received a "considerable amount" of tips since police on Saturday released a photo of the suspect, described as an African American man and last seen wearing a red hoodie, a white T-shirt, and blue jeans, but he acknowledged they weren't close to an arrest. Authorities also posted a $5,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.

"A lot of people are calling. A lot of them think they know who the person is," Viola said. "Every tip is important to us and we're running down every lead we get."

Such violent crime is unusual along the Main Line. Neither Narberth nor Haverford had any homicides in 2015 or 2016, according to the state crime data.

"You don't hear about it in Havertown," said Nick Millas, who owns Original Eagle Pizza, the shop Le had visited just before the shooting.

Millas said his son texted him Saturday night to let him know that a customer had been killed. He said he can't recall a shooting in the area in the 10 years he has been there. Employees there did not notice Le acting anxious, Millas said.

"He was normal," Millas said. "No sign of anything."

Huozhen Zheng said she was working next door that night at Pak Yue, a Chinese restaurant, when she saw the police activity down the street.

Zheng said she often walks the short distance from Pak Yue to her home in Ardmore at 10 or 11 p.m. and has never felt unsafe. She said she didn't think that would change.

"I don't think so," she said. "It's still a safe place here."

Hayburn, the professor, echoed that thought:  "It's one random event," he said. "It didn't really seem to be something that's going to be happening consistently."

Such gun violence wasn't completely unfamiliar to the Overbrook neighborhood targeted by the gunman. Two teenage brothers were shot to death in their Westbury Drive home in 2012, and in 2015 a bakery owner was shot in her shop but survived.

Still, residents felt stunned by the shooting spree Saturday just before Le was killed, and the fact that the shooter remained at large.

Bernie Moore, 79, moved to the neighborhood in 2000.

"I was sitting in the kitchen and I heard bam, bam, bam,bam, 15 times," he said, standing on a cluster of white chalk circles where bullet shell casings had fallen on the sidewalk. "My wife came flying down the steps, because I'm usually out back all the time. She thought I was out there, but I wasn't."

His wife arrived in time to see the gunman get in his car and drive away.

"I'm OK, but I'm tough," he said. "But my wife is afraid. She sick. Sick."

Lt. John Walker of Philadelphia's Southwest Detectives said the gunman had been acting suspiciously on the block, as if scoping out houses. When two people drove up to try to confront him, Walker said, the man fired at them 17 times. He then got into a gray Volvo sedan and drove away, Walker said. No one was injured.

At the Le family household in Narberth, a two-story fieldstone home with lights strung along the gutters and a miniature crucifix atop the entryway, an older man who came to the door Monday declined to comment. Minutes later a woman posted a sign that read: "No press. We appreciate you respecting our privacy."

A young woman later arrived at the house with bags and boxes of food, and other friends and family arrived as the day continued.

Lauren Hudson, 35, who has lived on the block with her husband and children for five years, learned of the killing from a reporter. "That sort of thing doesn't happen around here," Hudson said.

Meanwhile, Le's friends on Monday were continuing to process the news.

Le played in a recreational tennis league — police said he had been scheduled to play in a match at the time of the shooting but it was canceled due to the weather — and an administrator on Monday emailed other members to ask for memories of his time on the court.

At the disc golf course in Fairmount Park, many who played with Le stopped by throughout the day.

John DiSciascio, 65, said there was a memorial garden at the course, and he and others plan to add Le's name.

"He was just one of the nicest people," DiSciascio said. "Everyone is devastated."

Staff writers Mensah M. Dean and Chris Palmer contributed to this article.