MANCHESTER, Ill. (KMOX) – The mayor of a small Illinois town where five people were shot dead says the suspected gunman was his nephew.
In a press conference nearly 12 hours after the horrific mass murder, Illinois State Police identified the suspected gunman as 43-year-old Rick Odell Smith of rural Morgan County.
Smith is accused of shooting at close range three adults, a boy, and an infant at a federal housing complex in Manchester, Illinois Wednesday morning.
State Police Lt. Col. Todd Kilby said all the victims were related.
A six-year-old girl was also injured in the shooting, she is currently in critical condition. Lt. Kilby said the injured girl was taken to a neighbors house by Smith.
After the shooting Lt. Kilby said Smith fled the scene in a Chevy Lumina. Just after 7 a.m. police caught up with him and a chase between them ensued ending with an exchange of gunfire.
Smith was shot once by police, he was taken to an area hospital where he died. No officers were injured. State Police said officers found a shotgun, rifle and large hunting knife in Smith’s car.
Lt. Kilby said Smith had a criminal history with drugs and alcohol, but declined to speculate on a possible motive for the killings.
Manchester Mayor Ronald Drake said Wednesday that Smith is his nephew. He hadn’t spoken to him in about two years but he believed that his nephew was unemployed.
The village of Manchester had a population of 354 as of the 2000 census and 292 by more recent estimates. It is about 85 miles from St. Louis.
The shooting led to the closure of at least a half-dozen schools in the area.
“The Manchester community is saddened by this tragic loss and on behalf of the Illinois State Police and our law enforcement partners, we offer condolences and support during this time of grief,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau.
“Scott County is a small community. Fortunately, this thing doesn’t happen here very often but this is proof that it can happen,” Scott County District Attorney Michael Hill said.
The last homicide reported in Scott County was in 1993. This is the first multiple homicide known to Scott County.