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US gunman `cleaned his family out' in rampage

  Family members of victims of a shooting rampage comfort each other outside a home on Pullum Street in Samson, Ala. on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. A cor...
 ADDS detail map; Map locates Samson and other key spots in Tuesday�s deadly shootings, Ala., where 10 people were killed in shootings1c x 3 3/4 inche...
 Geneva, Ala., Mayor Winnton Malton, left, and Samson, Ala., Mayor Clay King speak with members of the media gathered outside a Samson, Ala., home ear...

APTOPIX South Alabama Shootings

Family members of victims of a shooting rampage comfort each other outside a home on Pullum Street in Samson, Ala. on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. A cor...

ALABAMA SHOOTINGS 2

ADDS detail map; Map locates Samson and other key spots in Tuesday�s deadly shootings, Ala., where 10 people were killed in shootings1c x 3 3/4 inche...

South Alabama Shootings

Geneva, Ala., Mayor Winnton Malton, left, and Samson, Ala., Mayor Clay King speak with members of the media gathered outside a Samson, Ala., home ear...

Authorities were working Wednesday to learn why a gunman set off on a rampage, killing 10 people across two rural Alabama counties. Grieving residents feared the answers could have been lost when he ended the terror by killing himself.
The shooting was believed to be the worst mass killing by a single gunman in Alabama's history. The gunman's mother, four other relatives and the wife and child of a local sheriff's deputy were among the dead.
"He cleaned his family out," Coffee County Coroner Robert Preachers said. "We don't know what triggered it."
The shootings happened Tuesday afternoon in an area near the Florida border, and were believed to be the work of Michael McLendon, a man in his 20s who lived with his mother and once worked at a local metal plant.
The spree began when McLendon burned down his mother's house in Kinston. Coffee County Sheriff Dave Sutton said McClendon put his mother, Lisa McLendon, on an L-shaped couch, piled stuff on top of her and set her afire. He said McClendon also shot four dogs at the house.
Then, McLendon drove a 12 miles (19 kilometers) southeast to Samson, in Geneva County, where he opened fire at a relative's porch, killing three relatives and two others before shooting another relative next door. After, he drove around the town shooting out his car window, killing three more people seemingly at random, authorities said.
One woman was struck down as she walked out of a gas station. Another man was hit while driving. A man was shot in the back as he tried to run away.
As police pursued him, McLendon drove 12 miles farther east and stopped at the Reliable Metal Products plant where he worked until 2003. He got out of his car and fired at police with his automatic weapon, wounding Geneva Police Chief Frankie Lindsey, authorities said. He then walked inside and killed himself.
Once investigators got a look at the ammunition he was carrying, they feared the bloodshed could have been worse. "I'm convinced he went over there to kill more people. He was heavily armed," Sutton said.
Three of the people struck on the porch were the wife and two daughters of Dep. Josh Myers, who was one of the law enforcement officers involved in the chase for McLendon.
His family, who lived across the street from the gunman's relatives, was visiting the home when the gunfire erupted. Only one of the children, a 4-month old-girl, survived, and was set to undergo surgery at a hospital in Pensacola, Florida. for a wound to the leg caused by either a bullet or shrapnel.
Authorities said McLendon was either fired or resigned from his job at the metals plant in 2003. It was unclear what kind of work, if any, he had been doing since, said Alabama Public Safety spokesman Kevin Cook. A person who answered the phone at the plant said no one could talk about the shooting.
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Associated Press Writers Garry Mitchell in Mobile, Bob Johnson in Montgomery and Anna Varela in Atlanta contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-05-07 01:08 GMT+08:00