7 killed in Missouri shootings, police say

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A man is believed to have killed seven people and injured another in a four-home shooting spree in southern Missouri before fatally shooting himself one county away, police said Friday morning.

A girl who fled one of the homes in the small community of Tyrone alerted police Thursday night, calling them from a neighbor’s house to say she’d heard gunshots, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kinder told reporters.

After police found two bodies in the first residence, investigators found five more bodies and an injured person in three other Tyrone homes, he said.

A suspect — a 36-year-old man — was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot in a vehicle in an adjacent county, police said.

“In our job, we see a lot of bad stuff, and this is bad,” Kinder said. “This is also hard on the police officers who are working out there. It’s not natural to see that sort of thing.”

No names were released. Police said they didn’t immediately know of a motive or how the victims were connected, if at all, to one another or the suspect.

Another body — that of an elderly woman who apparently died of natural causes — was found in a fifth residence during the investigation, Kinder said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the woman was connected to the case.

“The responding officers were somehow led to that residence after this was all placed into motion,” he said.

Tyrone is about 135 miles (84 kilometers) southwest of St. Louis. It is in Texas County, an area of about 26,000 residents.

It wasn’t immediately clear if any of the victims were of school age, but news of the deaths has shaken the community, the superintendent of the area’s schools said Friday.

“There is a lot of speculation right now and we just don’t have the information. The area is within the school district; these are my families,” said Scott Dill, superintendent of the Houston R-1 School District. “We run buses out there daily.”

Classes for the district’s 1,000 students are in session Friday, in part to give them a sense of normalcy, he said.

“We do have counselors available, and other offers from other districts to help out. As a small town, we all cry together. My principals are all assessing the situation now, and we will make a determination on what to do next,” Dill said.

The suspect’s body was found in neighboring Shannon County, Kinder said.