Police in the US state of Mississippi have arrested a man accused of shooting dead eight people, including a sheriff’s deputy.
Willie Cory Godbolt, 35, was arrested after shootouts in three separate homes in Lincoln County on Saturday night, authorities said.
Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said police were still inspecting the houses in the rural area and it was “premature” to discuss the motive behind the shootings.
The bodies of three women and a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department deputy were found at those scenes.
The bodies of two boys and an adult man and woman were found at the other two houses. Police has yet to release the identity of the victims. Godbolt held a teenage boy hostage at one point but released him unharmed later on.
He was being treated for a gun wound. Police did not say how he sustained injury.
The suspect told local media that he was talking with his wife and other family members when somebody called the police.
“I was having a conversation with her stepdaddy and her mama and her, my wife, about me taking my children home,” Godbolt told local media. “I ain’t fit to live. Not after what I’ve done.”
The suspect said he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting but ran out of bullets before being captured.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant issued a statement after the incident, hailing the “sacrifice” made by law enforcement officers.
“Every day, the men and women who wear the badge make some measure of sacrifice to protect and serve their communities,” he said. “Too often, we lose one of our finest. I thank the law enforcement agencies involved for their hard work.”
According to Gun Violence Archive, over 6,000 people have been killed and nearly 12,000 more injured in more than 24,000 gun-related incidents across the US this year.