ARKABUTLA, Miss. (WREG) — Six people were shot and killed at multiple locations in the small town of Arkabutla, Mississippi on Friday, the Tate County sheriff said.
Authorities identified the suspect in custody as Richard Dale Crum, 52, of Arkabutla. He has been charged with first-degree murder, and the sheriff says additional charges are expected.
The Tate County Coroner identified the following victims: Chris Boyce (59) from Lakeland, Florida, Debra Crum (60), George McCain (73), Lynda McCain (78), Charles Manuel (76), John Rorie (56). All other victims were from Coldwater, MS.
Crum is being held without bond in the Tate County Jail. The sheriff later confirmed one of the victims was Crum’s ex-wife who was killed and her current husband, who was wounded.
According to Sheriff Brad Lance, the shooter went into a store and shot a man, then went to a house nearby on Bend Road and shot a woman.
Lance said the suspect also went to a home on Arkabutla Dam Road and shot and killed two people there.
A deputy saw a car that fit the suspect’s car description and tried to stop him. The driver did not stop, and a chase ensued.
Officials say the alleged shooter pulled into a driveway of a home, and was apprehended there. At the house, officers found a person dead in a car and another dead in the roadway.
It is believed that the shooter lived at the Arkabutla Dam Road location, Lance said.
Ethan Cash witnessed one of the shootings, which started at a convenience store on Arkabutla Road, not far from where he lives.
“I heard the gunshot from inside my house,” Cash said. “I had just woken up and I look back here, and I see dude walking back here with a shotgun.”
The shootings forced local schools into lockdown. As some sought shelter, Cash says he ran to the gas station moments after one of the shootings.
“I go up to a truck where a guy got shot at, and I check his pulse and make sure he’s okay — he’s already gone at this point,” Cash said. “I had a moment where I could have saved someone’s life and I missed it, man.”
President Joe Biden released a statement in response to the shootings.
“Jill and I are mourning for the six killed in today’s violence in Tate County, Mississippi — as we have for far too many Americans,” Biden said in part. “We grieve with their families and with Americans nationwide as gun violence claims yet more lives.”
Arkabutla, located about 45 miles south of Memphis, Tenn., had a population of 285 in the 2020 Census. Friday’s tragedy left residents in the town shaken.
“This is supposed to be a peaceful place, and I don’t understand,” Cash said.
Read the full statement from President Joe Biden:
We are 48 days into the year and our nation has already suffered at least 73 mass shootings. Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Gun violence is an epidemic and Congress must act now.
Jill and I are mourning for the six killed in today’s violence in Tate County, Mississippi — as we have for far too many Americans. We grieve with their families and with Americans nationwide as gun violence claims yet more lives. We are also praying for the recovery of those injured in this horrendous attack, and for survivors who will carry both grief and trauma with them for the rest of their lives.
Federal law enforcement is in close touch with state and local authorities, and I’ve directed that all federal support be made available.
We need—need—commonsense gun law reforms. That includes requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, fully closing the boyfriend loophole to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, requiring safe storage of guns, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.
These are commonsense steps that Congress could take right now and save lives. We owe action to American communities being torn apart by gun violence.