A bizarre tragedy has struck the small town of Manchester, Illinois.
Mayor Ronald Drake confirmed on a television interview that five people, including two young boys and their pregnant mother, were murdered after a shooting that took place inside their home.
In a twisted turn of events, the man suspected to be the culprit of this bloodbath was identified as 43-year-old Rick O. Smith, Mayor Ronald Drake’s nephew. The Associated Press reported that the two relatives had not spoken in two years.
According to the Chicago Tribune the victims were reported as a young couple, their grandmother, and their two small boys, ages 5 and 1. Star Tribune confirms that the deceased mother of the children was pregnant. A third child — a 6-year-old girl — was wounded and remains in critical condition.
After the suspect shot his way into the home and gunned down the five victims, he did something that reportedly “puzzled authorities.” He took the 6-year old girl who survived and carried her to a neighbor’s home before speeding off in his car. A source said the man told the neighbor to take her to a hospital.
A few hours later, police caught up with Smith after a high-speed chase and he died in a gunfight with officers.
The Star Tribune reports authorities say there was a dispute between the suspect and at least one of the victims, but they don’t know what it was about. However, Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond revealed to reporters that Rick O. Smith was involved in a custody dispute with a member of the family.
Mayor Ronald Drake concluded his briefing by describing the down as a “close-knit community. … Everybody talks to everybody. … We enjoy that goes on (in) town. This is just a tragedy for (the) whole town.”
The last homicide in the county was 20 years ago in 1993, says the Washington Post.