A 34-year-old man is accused of killing four people during a hostage situation and police standoff at a home in Clinton, Mississippi, that began when officers were called to a domestic situation, authorities said. When police entered the home after a lengthy standoff Le was also found suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital and later died, accordng to police. The victims have been identified as Le’s wife, his sister-in-law, his sister-in-law’s fiance and a family babysitter, WJTV reports.
The mass shooting sparked by a domestic dispute, according to CBS News, which reported that the scene was described as looking like a “war zone.” Two children were inside the home during the snatoff, but were released without being wounded, police said.
Le was identified by the coroner, according to WJTV. The identities of the victims were released as: Lan Thi My Van, 30, Lie Thi My Van, 28, Cho Thi Van, 65, and Phung Minh Le, 28. They were shot multiple times, according to WAPT-TV.
Family members told WJTV that Lan Thi My Van was Le’s wife. Lie Thi My Van was his sister-in-law. Phung Minh Le was Lie Thi My Van’s fiance. And Cho Thi Van was a family friend and babysitter who was staying at the home to help out for a few days, the news station reports.
“When our officers arrived, they received fire from the suspect. The suspect then retreated into his home, and it is with a saddened heart that I report multiple fatalities within that residence,” said Clinton police Chief Ford Hayman.
Here’s what you need to know:
Nam Le Took 4 Hostages & Then Shot Them to Death, Authorities Say
A WJTV reporter said in a video posted to Facebook that the standoff lasted nearly 12 hours and led to the deaths of four people. The next day, other family members were at the home and told the journalist they were heartbroken and were in tears.
The journalist’s video, which you can watch above, showed that the front of the home was damaged; the windows were blown out, and the front door appeared to be smashed in. It’s not yet clear how the victims were linked to the suspect. However, authorities did say that the people inside the residence were family members.
Two children were released from the home in the midst of the tense and frightening standoff. The ages of the deceased victims are not yet known. According the State, police entered the dwelling with a battering ram. The suspect was found injured inside the residence and died at a hospital, the news site reported.
The standoff broke out around 2:30 a.m. on the morning of February 16, 2019, and, according to WLBT, police initially labeled it a “highly active domestic hostage situation.” A SWAT team eventually breached the home and took Le into custody before he died.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is now investigating the mass casualty situation.
The mass shooting in Clinton came not long after a factory worker opened fire in an Aurora, Illinois valve manufacturing plant, killing five co-workers and wounded five law enforcement officers. Some people used both shootings to make points about gun control on social media, although the Aurora shooter was a felon who was not legally supposed to possess a gun. No details were yet released on the background or weapon of Nam Le.
Clinton, Mississippi is a community of about 25,000 that is located in Hinds County. It’s near Jackson.
A Family Member Says Nam Le Was Seen as a ‘Simple Man Who Caused No Harm’
A family member told WJTV that Nam Le “was seen by many as a simple man who caused no harm.” The relative told the news station that they are in disbelief about what happened. According to WJTV, a Facebook page for Nam Le shows him smiling with his family.
His two daughters were inside the home during the standoff and were the children released without being harmed, according to WJTV. They are in the custody of their uncle, relatives told the news station.
Police are investigating to determine a motive. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is leading the probe and is talking with family members and those who knew Le, according to WJTV.