Police have identified the suspect in the killings of five people in the small west central Illinois town of Manchester as 43-year-old Rick Smith of rural Morgan County.
Smith led police on a high speed chase this morning before he was wounded in a gun fight. He later died at a local hospital.
Illinois State Police said this afternoon that they believe Smith and the victims were acquainted but didn’t provide details of their relationships. State police said the victims were related. The names and ages of those killed has yet to be released, but they have been described as two women, a man and two young children. Authorities say they are still trying to determine a motive.
Scott County State’s Attorney Michael Hill said Smith had previous convictions:
Hill “The subject did have a previous criminal history. He was convicted of reckless homicide. I don’t know the previous date or location. He had criminal arrests for paraphernalia and drugs, bad checks, things like that. To my knowledge, that’s the extent of his criminal history.”
Hill says the reckless homicide conviction was related to a D-U-I.
A shotgun, a rifle and a hunting knife were recovered from Smith’s car.
While autopsies on the victims are scheduled for tomorrow, police indicated the victims all had shotgun wounds. A 6 year old girl remains hospitalized.
Police said he entered the home through a back door. They say two victims were found in one bedroom, two in another bedroom and an adult male in a hallway.
Manchester is located about 50 miles west of Springfield.
Several schools in the area canceled classes today for safety reasons as the suspect was still at large.