Investigators are trying to figure out why a lone shooter went on a startling killing spree, killing six people, including his ex-wife and stepfather, in multiple locations on Friday in a small rural village in northern Mississippi, the sheriff said.
As per Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance, 52-year-old Richard Dale Crum, it has opened fire at around 11 a.m., killing a man who was sitting in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck that was parked outside a convenience store in Arkabutla, close to the Tennessee state line. Crum was armed with a shotgun and two handguns.
As a second 911 call informed authorities of a second shooting a few miles away, deputies were securing the crime site. When they arrived at a house, they discovered a woman who had been shot dead and her current husband injured. The sheriff identified the victim as Crum’s ex-wife.
As per Lance, Crum was detained by deputies after they caught up with him outside his own house. They discovered two handymen, one on the road and the other in an SUV, both shot to death behind the house. The bodies of Crum’s stepfather and his stepfather’s sister were found inside a nearby house.
Everyone commits crimes, and occasionally there are violent crimes here as well, but nothing on this scale, according to Lance. The troubling issue, he continued, is that we don’t know what caused this.
Having been charged with capital murder on a single count, 52-year-old Crum was detained without release and Lance reported that more charges were being investigated. If Crum had a lawyer who could represent him, that was not immediately known.
The 59-year-old man who was shot outside the business, Chris Eugene Boyce, was the victim of that initial murder accusation. The sheriff claims that Boyce’s brother, who was in the truck with him then, escaped. According to Lance, Crum pursued the brother through the woods before the latter managed to flee uninjured.
The other victims were Debra Crum, 60; Charles Manuel, 76; John Rorie, 59; George McCain, 78; and Lynda McCain, 78, according to Deputy Tate County Coroner Ernie Lentz. Boyce was from Lakeland, Florida, according to Lentz as well.
Living next to the store, Ethan Cash told the Associated Press that he heard a gunshot from inside his home.
I was barely waking up when I looked back and saw a man walking back here carrying a shotgun, the man claimed.
Cash continued by saying that when he arrived at the scene, he discovered one victim of gunfire. He looked for a pulse but couldn’t find one.
Norma Washington revealed to The Associated Press that Boyce was her nephew in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office. She claimed that he had been in town tidying up a property they had inherited from their late uncle along with his Alaskan brother, Doug.
Washington said, “I lost my brother, and now this one.” “This has been another thing.”
It was unknown if Crum was acquainted with the brothers.
The deaths shocked the 285-person population of Arkabutla, which is located around 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Jones, a well-known actor, was born and raised there, and the surrounding Arkabutla Lake is a well-liked fishing and vacation spot.
According to the Coldwater Elementary School Facebook page, a high school and an elementary school in the neighborhood of Coldwater both went on lockdown while the suspect was being searched. A second post on the website shortly after the first stated that the lockdown had been lifted and “all kids and staff are safe.”
Both Arkabutla and Coldwater are small towns where most people are acquainted with one another, according to April Wade, who currently resides in Arkabutla. If you don’t, however, you are acquainted with someone who is.
Wade said she and her husband were aware of the shootings but had not yet learned the names of the perpetrator or victims when she spoke in the afternoon from a nearby tire shop.
Wade remarked, “I believe it’s ridiculous. Such a thing happening so close to home is not what you would expect.
The sheriff’s office and state investigators were getting help, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which said its agents were doing it. One of their primary concerns, according to Lance, was to ascertain a motive.
The sheriff, who has worked in law enforcement for 25 years and has lived in the region his entire life, claimed to have never had a problem with Crum in the past.
According to a database maintained by the Associated Press, the shootings are the first mass killing to occur in the country since Jan. 23, when the final one of six that occurred over three weeks occurred. A mass murder is defined as when there are four or more victims, excluding the killer.
President Joseph Biden and their first wife Jill Biden expressed their condolences for the six dead and their prayers for the surviving in a statement. To combat what he called “an epidemic” of gun violence, he encouraged Congress to take immediate action on gun control reforms.
Mississippi governor Tate Reeves said
“I’ve been briefed on the series of shootings in Tate County,” “The individual responsible has been taken into custody alive. At this time, we believe he acted alone. His motive is not yet known.”
“I will ensure that the full resources of the state are available to law enforcement as we continue to investigate the situation. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) has been asked to assist in this investigation,”.“Please pray for the victims of this tragic violence and their families at this time.”