6 killed; suspect in custody, police say
A lone gunman killed six people in a rural Mississippi town on Friday, including his ex-wife, in a “series of shootings,” officials said.
A suspect is in custody, according to the Tate County Sheriff’s Office, and was identified as 52-year-old Richard Dale Crum of Arkabulta, Mississippi. The sheriff’s office said in a statement Crum was charged with first degree murder and being held without bail at the Tate County Jail.
The spree began at about 11 a.m. Friday when Crum opened fire outside a convenience store, killing a man who was sitting in a pickup truck parked outside, Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance said.
As deputies were working the crime scene, a 911 call came in about another shooting in a home a few miles away, Lance said. There, deputies found Crum’s ex-wife fatally shot, and her current husband injured.
Deputies arrested Crum near his home, where outside they also found two slain workmen — one in the road and another inside an SUV. In another nearby house, Crum’s stepfather and the sister of the stepfather were found killed by gunshots.
Lance said Crum had a shotgun and two handguns.
“Everybody has crime, and from time to time we have violent crime, but certainly nothing of this magnitude,” Lance told the Associated Press. “Without being able to say what triggered this, that’s the scary part.”
Lance said after Crum killed the first victim, 59-year-old Eugene Boyce, he chased Boyce’s brother through a wooded area before the brother escaped unharmed.
Deputy Tate County Coroner Ernie Lentz identified the others killed as Debra Crum, 60; Charles Manuel, 76; John Rorie, 59; George McCain, 78; and Lynda McCain, 78.
Norma Washington, who said she was Boyce’s aunt, told the Associated Press that Boyce and his brother, Doug, were in town cleaning up a property they inherited from their deceased uncle.
“I lost my brother, and now this one,” she said.
It’s unclear if Crum knew the Boyce brothers.
Gov. Tate Reeves said authorities believe the suspect acted alone.
“Please pray for the victims of this tragic violence and their families at this time,” Reeves said in a statement.
The shootings happened in Arkabutla, in Tate County, a small, unincorporated community about 20 miles south of the Mississippi-Tennessee border on the south side of Arkabutla Lake.
“I heard the gunshot from inside my house,” Ethan Cash, who lives near the store, told WREG-TV. “I had just woken up and I look back here, and I see dude walking back here with a shotgun.”
Cash said he went to the scene and found one person who had been shot. He said he checked for a pulse but found none.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has been called in to assist with the investigation.
Contributing: The Associated Press