Details Continue To Emerge In Manchester, Ill. Slayings | St. Louis Public Radio

Details Continue To Emerge In Manchester, Ill. Slayings

Updated 9:55 a.m. April 25 with more information about the investigation from Amanda Vinicky. Headline changed. Updated 12:22 p.m. with suspect dead. Will be updated further.

Autopsies are scheduled for Thursday morning on five people found murdered early Wednesday morning in their Manchester, Ill. home. Police say their shooter, who’s also from a rural part of west-central Illinois, is also dead.

Illinois State Police say Rick Smith, 43, shot six people in Manchester, Ill. on April 24.
Credit (Illinois State Police)

State police say 43-year-old Rick Smith shot six people living at a public housing complex before dawn yesterday, killing them all, save for a six-year-old girl who he took to a neighbor’s before fleeing. Doctors at a Springfield hospital are treating the girl for gunshot wounds. The dead include two women, a man and two small children.

Scott County Sheriff David King has released the names of the victims:

  • JoAnn Sinclair, age 66 of Manchester
  • Brittney Lynn Luark, age 23 of Manchester
  • Nolan James Ralston, age 5 of Manchester
  • Brantley Jack Ralston, age 1 of Manchester
  • James Roy Ralston, age 29 of Manchester

Smith was on the loose for several hours before he died following a chase and shootout with police.

Authorities say they’re still investigating a motive, though they’ve confirmed Smith was acquainted with the victims.

The slaying has stunned Manchester residents like Rodney Havens.

"It's certainly got to hit home with people and make them... you know, think 'what in the world?'" Havens said. "It's happening in small-town America as well as in large cities. So  I guess it just lets us know, you know, nobody's immune from these things."

The village’s president -- who’s also the alleged shooter’s uncle – says residents will have to work together to bring their community “back to where it was before.”

Earlier story:

Illinois State Police say the suspect in the slayings of five people at a home in a west-central Illinois is dead.

Illinois State Police Lt. Col. Todd Kilby said the suspect was injured in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement personnel during a car chase. He was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Kilby spoke to reporters in the village of Manchester where the killings took place on Wednesday. Kilby says the suspect was in possession of multiple weapons. He did not identify him by name.

Besides the five people slain, a 6-year-old girl was wounded and taken to a hospital in Springfield, about 50 miles east of Manchester. Kilby declined to discuss a possible motive or the relationship between the suspect and the victims.

Original story:

Authorities are investigating the slayings of five people whose bodies were found in a house in the tiny Scott County community of Manchester. A suspect is in custody.

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond says the victims were found early Wednesday morning in the southwestern Illinois community, 50 miles west of Springfield. She didn't have any details on the deaths or the circumstances surrounding the capture of the suspect.

A school superintendent in the area says he was informed by sheriffs early Wednesday morning that the victims had been shot to death. Les Stevens of the North Greene School District says he canceled classes because authorities warned him at the time that the suspect was at large. The district has since been informed that the man was captured.