Missouri law enforcement officials on Friday identified Joseph Aldridge as the suspected gunman in an overnight shooting rampage that left eight people dead in a rural part of the state.
The shootings took place at five separate homes in Tyrone, Mo., about 165 miles south of St. Louis. Many of the victims were relatives of the 36-year-old Aldridge. His body was found in a truck in a nearby county; he appeared to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The dead victims include Garold Dee Aldridge, 52; Julie Ann Aldridge, 47; Harold Wayne Aldridge, 50; and Janell Arlisa Aldridge, 48. A woman who appeared to have died of natural causes was found at one of the residences and was identified as Alice L. Aldridge, 74.
Three victims’ names are not being released pending notification of next of kin, police said.
A woman who made the initial 911 call to the police after running to a neighbor’s house was injured and is expected to survive, according to law enforcement.
Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kinder said his agency is working alongside the Texas County, Mo., sheriff’s office on the investigation.
He said additional details are likely to be released over the weekend.
“In our job we see a lot of bad stuff, and this is bad,” Kinder said. “This is hard on the police officers out there."
On Friday, Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker told reporters the shooter might have become upset after finding his mother -- who was ill -- dead in a home, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“We’re speculating that he came home and found her deceased and then for whatever reason went on a rampage and started killing people,” he said. “This is just so strange. Right now, with the shooter dead, we don’t know. Is there something that sparked this? We’re still in the information-gathering stage.”
Joy Ice, who lives in Tyrone, told the Post-Dispatch she ran into Joseph Aldridge recently and he said his mother was not well.
John Shriver told the Post-Dispatch he received a call from a female relative asking him to check on her son at one of the homes where shooting occurred. He said when he arrived at the home, he found the man and a woman dead, but their child had been hiding in another bedroom and was safe.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called the shooting a “horrific tragedy” and said officials from the state’s Department of Mental Health would travel to the rural county and offer counseling.
“I ask all Missourians to join us in sending thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families and loved ones,” he said in a statement.
Texas County -- where Tyrone is located -- has a population of about 25,600 and is less than 50 miles from the Arkansas border.
Times staff writer Julie Westfall contributed to this report.