Shooter kills 8 in Mississippi, says ‘suicide by cop’ was plan after running out of bullets
The tragedy unfolded after the suspect, 35-year-old Willie Corey Godbolt, got into an argument with his estranged wife and her family over his children.
Godbolt first opened fire at the house of his in-laws in the town of Bogue Chitto, after a deputy arrived in response to a domestic disturbance call, AP reported.
The bodies of three women and Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputy William Durr were found at the scene, according to Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain, as cited by the Clarion-Ledger newspaper.
The shooting spree then spread to two additional houses in Brookhaven, with Godbolt going on to shoot two boys and an adult man and woman.
Godbolt was eventually arrested and handcuffed before being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound. It remains unclear who shot him.
Speaking to the Clarion-Ledger while handcuffed, Godbolt gave his version of events.
"We [were] talking about me taking my children...I was having a conversation with her step-daddy and her mama and her, my wife, about me taking my children home," he said. "Somebody called the officer, people that didn't even live at the house, but that's what they do. They intervene."
Godbolt's stepfather-in-law, Vincent Mitchell, told AP that Godbolt's wife and their two children had been staying at his home for about three weeks after she left her husband due to domestic violence.
Suspect tells me Lincoln Co. deputy was just in the way, and after all this he meant to commit suicide by cop. pic.twitter.com/ZebieSQkdR— Therese Apel (@TRex21) May 28, 2017
Referencing the slain deputy, Godbolt said: "It cost him his life. I'm sorry." He went on to say his intention was to be killed by police.
"My intentions was to have God kill me. I ran out of bullets," he said. "Suicide by cop was my intention."
"I ain't fit to live, not after what I done," he continued.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has expressed sympathy for those killed in the shootings.
“I ask all Mississippians to join [my wife] Deborah and me in praying for those lost in Lincoln County,” he posted on Facebook.
The mass shooting is the largest crime spree in recent history for Lincoln County. However, Strain stressed that 2017 has already seen a large number of murders in Mississippi.
"Just this year we've had a quadruple homicide in Yazoo County, a quadruple homicide in the city of Jackson, a quadruple homicide in Lauderdale County, and now eight people killed in one shooting spree here in Lincoln County," he said, as quoted by the Clarion-Ledger.
"You think you've seen it all, then another day comes along."
Located in southern Mississippi, Lincoln County is home to around 34,000 people. The county seat, Brookhaven, is located just under an hour from the state capital, Jackson.