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US Mass Shooting: Man Kills 6 In Mississippi In 7th Mass Shooting Of The Year

This is the seventh mass-shooting incident in the United States so far this year. A shooting incident with at least four deaths is classified as a mass-shooting by the US federal government.

US mass shootings. (Representative image)
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In the latest mass-shooting in the UnitedS States, a man on Friday shot dead six persons in a rural area in northern Mississippi. 

Authorities said the six dead included the shooter's ex-wife and stepfather. There is no confirmation of the motive so far. 

The Mississippi shooter has been identified as 52-year-old Richard Dale Crum. He has been arrested by the police.

The latest Mississippi shooting is the seventh mass-shooting in the United States so far this year. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) categorises an incident as mass-shooting when at least four people are killed. 

What we know of Mississippi mass-shooting?

Richard Dale Crum, 52, began his shooting spree around 11 am at Arkabutla in rural northern Mississippi near the Tennessee-Mississippi state border, according to Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance.

Lance said Crum was armed with a shotgun and two handguns and he opened fire at about 11 am and killed a man in the driver's seat of a pickup truck parked outside a convenience store in Arkabutla.

Deputies were working the crime scene when a second 911 call alerted authorities to another shooting a few miles away. After arriving at a home, they found a woman, whom the sheriff identified as Crum's ex-wife, shot dead and her current husband wounded.

Lance said deputies caught up with Crum outside his own home and arrested him. Behind the residence, they found two handymen slain by gunfire — one in the road, another in an SUV. Inside a neighbouring home, they discovered the bodies of Crum's stepfather and his stepfather's sister.

Lance said, "Everybody has crime, and from time to time we have violent crime, but certainly nothing of this magnitude. Without being able to say what triggered this, that's the scary part."

Shooter slapped with murder charge

Richard Dale Crum, 52, was jailed without bond on a single charge of capital murder, and Sherrif Lance said investigators were working to bring additional charges. It was not immediately known if Crum had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

That initial murder charge was for the killing of Chris Eugene Boyce, 59, the man who was shot outside the store. Boyce's brother was in the truck with him at the time and fled, according to Lance, who added that Crum chased the brother through a wooded area before he escaped unharmed.

Local resident Ethan Cash told WREG-TV, "I heard the gunshot from inside my house. I had just woken up and I look back here, and I see dude walking back here with a shotgun." 

Cash said he went to the scene and found one person who had been shot. He said he checked for a pulse but found none.

In the lobby of the Sheriff's Office, Norma Washington told The Associated Press that Chris Boyce was her nephew and he was from Florida. She said he and the brother, Doug, who lives in Alaska, had been in town cleaning up a property they inherited from their deceased uncle.

Washington said, "I lost my brother, and now this one. This has been something else."

It was unclear whether Crum knew either of the brothers.

Small rural community stunned by mass shooting

The killings stunned residents of Arkabutla, home to 285 people and located about 50 kilometers south of Memphis, Tennessee. It's the hometown of famed actor James Earl Jones, and nearby Arkabutla Lake is a popular fishing and recreational destination.

An elementary school and a high school in nearby Coldwater both went on lockdown while the suspect was being sought, according to the Coldwater Elementary School Facebook page. A short time later, a second post on the page said the lockdown had been lifted and "all students and staff are safe".

April Wade, who lives in Arkabutla and grew up in Coldwater, said both are small communities where most people know each other, "but if you don't, you know somebody who knows somebody".

Speaking from a local tire store in the afternoon, Wade said she and her husband were aware of the shootings but had not yet heard the names of the suspect or victims.

Wade said, "I think it's crazy. You do not expect something like that to happen so close to home."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its agents were providing assistance to the sheriff's department and state investigators. Lance said one of their top priorities was to determine a motive.

The sheriff, who has lived in the area his entire life and served in law enforcement for 25 years, said he could recall no prior problems with Crum.

String of mass-shooting this year

The Mississippi mass-shooting is the latest incident this year. There have been six more mass-shootings so far, according to data with AP.

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In a statement, President Joe Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden were mourning the six victims and praying for the survivors. He urged Congress to act now on gun law reforms to address what he called "an epidemic" of gun violence.  

The other mass-shooting incidents are: 

  • On January 6, a man killed seven family members and himself in the Enoch City, Utah. 
  • On January 7, a man killed his wife, three children, and then himself in High Point, North Carolina.
  • On January 13, a man killed four people in Cleveland in Ohio state. He is under arrest.
  • On January 16, six persons were killed in Goshen in California. The police said it was an assassination-style shooting and appeared gang-related.
  • On January 21, a man killed 12 in Monterey Park  in California, near the city of Los Angeles. The shooter was later found dead. 
  • On January 23, a man killed seven persons in Half Moon Bay near San Francisco in California state. 

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(With AP inputs)

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