5 people shot to death in small Illinois town

Posted at: 04/24/2013 1:04 PM
By: The Associated Press

MANCHESTER, Ill. (AP) - Five people were found shot to death Wednesday at a house in a tiny west-central Illinois town and a suspect was fatally wounded in a police chase and exchange of gunfire with officers, authorities said.

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the five found dead at the house in Manchester were homicide victims, but could not confirm how they died.

State Police Lt. Col. Todd Kilby said a 6-year-old girl was found alive. Molly Wilson, a spokeswoman for St. John's Hospital in Springfield about 50 miles away, said the girl was in serious condition.

Authorities have not provided any details about the people killed. Manchester Mayor Ronald Drake, who lives a block from the house, said five people were fatally shot at about 4:30 a.m.

Officers responded after a neighbor called 911 to report gunshots coming from the home, Drake said. The neighbor described the vehicle leaving the house and police issued an alert, the mayor said.

When police spotted the vehicle with the suspect "there was a shootout and police shot him," Drake said.

In a brief statement to reporters, Kilby said the suspect, who had several weapons, was pronounced dead at a hospital after the chase and gunfire exchange.

He did not identify the suspect or describe the relationship between the suspect and the victims, and he declined to speculate on a possible motive for the killings. He refused to take questions.

In Manchester, yellow police tape surrounded the small one-story brick home where the victims were found. Manchester is a Scott County community of about 300 residents.

"This shows tragedy can happen anywhere," said the Rev. Robin Lyons of Manchester United Methodist Church, one of two churches in the community.

Two area school superintendents said they received calls from county sheriffs before 6 a.m. informing them that five people had been shot to death at a house in Manchester and that a suspect was at large.

Superintendent David Roberts of the Winchester School District and Les Stevens of the North Greene Unit District No. 3 said they both immediately canceled classes when they were told of the shootings early Wednesday, and that other school districts did the same.

Roberts and Stevens said they were waiting to hear if any of the victims were children who attended schools in their districts.

 (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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