A man killed six people in a small community in northern Mississippi. Among the victims were the shooter's ex-wife and stepfather, the sheriff's office said. The 52-year-old, who used several handguns, was arrested.
The man first killed a man in the driver's seat of a pickup truck parked in front of a grocery store in Arkabutla, near the Tennessee border, around 11 a.m. this morning, Sheriff Brad Lance said. At the scene of the crime, the officials then received the next emergency call: A few kilometers away, more shots had been fired. The police officers who arrived found the shooter's ex-wife dead and her current husband injured.
Officials were able to arrest the shooter in front of his own home. Inside, they found two workmen shot dead - one on the road, another in an SUV. In a neighboring house they discovered the bodies of the stepfather and his sister.
The sheriff was shocked. "We do have violent crime from time to time, but certainly not on this scale," Lance said. Not knowing the trigger is scary.
The victims were between 59 and 78 years old. The shooter was taken into custody. Sheriff Lance said he doesn't recall ever having any problems with him.
Arkabutla is about 50 kilometers south of Memphis. According to a 2020 census, 285 people lived in the place. Nearby Arkabutla Lake is popular with anglers and as a day trip destination.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were shocked. The President said the couple mourns the six victims and prays for the survivors. He called on Congress to reform gun laws and tackle the "epidemic" of gun violence.
The shooting marks the first mass killing in the US since January 23, when the last of a series of six such crimes occurred over a three-week period. This emerges from a joint database of the AP news agency and the newspaper "USA Today". A mass killing is defined there as a crime resulting in four or more deaths - perpetrators not counted.