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WJBD - Local News - Five Shot to Death in West Central Illinois Town

Ricky Odell Smith

Five Shot to Death in West Central Illinois Town

Law enforcement officials confirm five people were shot and killed early Wednesday morning in a home in the small West Central Illinois town of Manchester. The person believed responsible later became involved in a chase and shoot out with police and later died of his injuries at a hospital. He's identified as 43-year-old Ricky Odell Smith whose last known address was in nearby rural Morgan County. 

The five victims ranged in age from an infant to adults were discovered deceased at the scene. Two male children, one male adult, and two female adults were identified. A six year old female child also suffered gunshot wounds and remains in critical condition at an area hospital. Based on witness statements, the offender took the 6 year old outside of the residence and put her in the hands of a neighbor. 

Police say it appears that the offender forced entry from the backdoor. Based on the shell casings located at the crime scene, it also appears that the weapon used was a shotgun fired at close range. Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services is analyzing forensic and ballistic evidence. Two of the bodies were discovered in one bedroom, two bodies in another bedroom, and one male adult was discovered in the hallway.

Police are still investigating the scene and interviewing the officers involved in the pursuit and gunfire. Based on preliminary investigative details, the offender exited his vehicle pointed and discharged his firearm.  The officer's returned fire striking Smith. The offender was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital in critical condition. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital at approximately 10:10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Police say Smith knew the victims but they won't confirm how they were connected.   The "Chicago Tribune" reports Smith had a child by the daughter of one of the victims. Neighbors say they had been in a custody battle.

Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau commended the combined efforts of all the law enforcement agencies involved in investigating this tragic homicide. "The Manchester community is saddened by this tragic loss and on behalf of the Illinois State Police and our law enforcement partners, we offer condolences and support during this time of grief," said ISP Director Hiram Grau.

Scott County State's Attorney Michael Hill says Smith was no stranger to crime. "The subject did have a criminal history. He was convicted of reckless homicide. I don't know the exact date or location.  He also had other criminal arrests for paraphernalia, drugs, bad checks and things of that nature," said Hill. The State's Attorney says Smith's previous homicide conviction was related to a DUI charge.

The last homicide reported in Scott County was in 1993. This is the first multiple homicide known to Scott County.

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