A shooting spree late last night has ended with nine people dead in a quiet Missouri town where the suspected gunman went door-to-door shooting his neighbors.
Texas County police are investigating the shooting deaths of seven people who were killed by an unnamed 36-year-old man in the unincorporated rural town of Tyrone, Missouri. The man allegedly went to adjoining homes to his own and shot the seven people before driving to a neighboring county and turning the gun on himself. A ninth person, an elderly woman suspected to be the gunman's mother, was also found dead of natural causes, but police aren't sure if she's connected to the shooting spree.
The call first came in at 10:15 p.m. Missouri time as a young girl informed police that she heard gun shots. According to a press conference held earlier this morning, police officials said," A juvenile female caller indicated she was in the residence and apparently heard gun shots. She immediately fled to a neighbor's house to notify authorities. Responding deputies found two deceased persons at this residence. Further investigation revealed five additional victims who were deceased and one additional victim who was wounded in three additional residences. All three residences were in Tyrone. Another residence revealed the body of a deceased elderly female who appeared to have died from natural causes. The apparent suspect, a 36-year-old male from Tyrone, was found dead in a vehicle at a location in Shannon County from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound."
The elderly woman is thought to be the shooter's mother after it was discovered that they share the same surname, Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was found dead on a couch at the gunman's home, and is thought to have been dead for more than 24 hours. This may be the motive for the killing spree, according to officials.
"We're speculating that he came home and found her deceased and then for whatever reason went on a rampage and started killing people," Whittaker said. "This is just so strange. Right now, with the shooter dead, we don't know. Is there something that sparked this? We're still in the information-gathering stage."
The other victims, while not named until the families have been notified, are said to include three women and four men, ranging in age from their early 40s to mid 60s. Several of the victims are reported to be related, such as a husband and wife, but there's no known connection to the gunman, if any.
Autopsies are expected to be performed by a pathologist in nearby Springfield, Missouri, and should run over the weekend and into next week.
"In our job, we see a lot of bad stuff. And this is bad," said Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kinder during the press conference. "This is also hard on the police officers. It's not natural to see that sort of thing." The Texas County Coroner said that the area sees "maybe one" homicide a year since he started in 1997.