Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

2 boys, 3 adults shot to death in Illinois town
First Published Apr 24 2013 12:25 pm • Last Updated Apr 24 2013 05:03 pm

Manchester, Ill. • The nephew of a small-town Illinois mayor shot and killed five people, including two boys, before leading police on a chase that ended in an exchange of gunfire that left him dead, authorities said Wednesday.

Illinois State Police said they believe Rick O. Smith, 43, entered a Manchester home through the back door and shot the victims at close range with a shotgun, leaving two women, one man and the boys dead. Two people were found in a bedroom, two in a second bedroom and the man in the hallway. A sixth victim, a 6-year-old girl, was injured and taken to a Springfield hospital.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"The offender took the 6-year-old out of the residence and put her in the hands of a neighbor," State Police Lt. Col. Todd Kilby said.

Officials have not revealed a motive for the killings. Police said the victims are related. Authorities believe Smith and the victims were acquainted, but they didn’t provide details of the relationships.

A bystander called police and told them that Smith fled the home in a white sedan. A car chase ensued, leading authorities to the nearby town of Winchester, where Smith and officers exchanged gunfire. Officers shot Smith, and he later died at a hospital.

Police said they found a rifle, shotgun and large hunting knife in Smith’s car.

Coroner officials said they plan autopsies on the victims Thursday morning in Bloomington and identities would be released at that time.

Scott County State’s Attorney Michael Hill said Smith, of rural Morgan County, had previous convictions for reckless homicide, drugs and bad checks.

Manchester Mayor Ronald Drake confirmed that Smith was his nephew, saying he hadn’t spoken to Smith in two years, but he believed his nephew was unemployed. Drake said the last time Smith contacted him was to borrow tools.

In Manchester, yellow police tape surrounded the small one-story brick home where the victims were found. Manchester is a village of about 300 residents located about 50 miles west of Springfield.


story continues below
story continues below

"It’s a close-knit community," Drake said. "Everybody talks to everybody. ... We enjoy that goes on (in) town. This is just a tragedy for (the) whole town."

The last homicide in Scott County was 20 years ago, in 1993.

Manchester resident Julie Hardwick, 48, said she lives in the same county housing authority complex as the victims. Authorities told her she couldn’t return to her home yet because of the investigation, she said.

"The kids were really nice," Hardwick said of the family. "You couldn’t ask for better kids."

The Rev. Robin Lyons of Manchester United Methodist Church, one of two churches in the community said, "this shows tragedy can happen anywhere."

Two area school superintendents said they received calls from county sheriffs before 6 a.m. informing them that five people had been shot to death at a house in Manchester and that a suspect was at large.

Superintendent David Roberts of the Winchester School District and Les Stevens of the North Greene Unit District No. 3 both said they immediately canceled classes when they were told of the shootings and that other school districts did the same.

Roberts said the wounded girl is a student at Winchester Grade School and her teacher was with her at the Springfield hospital.

The school will use its own counselor, nurse and other staff members to help students who need to talk, Roberts said. Other area districts have offered to help too.

Roberts said he also will call on area ministers to be available on campus. "I’ve found that to be helpful in the past," he said.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.