Family Warned After Eight Relatives Shot Dead
Members of an Ohio family have been urged to take precautions after eight relatives were shot dead by a gunman who is still on the loose.
Police have interviewed more than 30 people in the hope of finding clues to the apparently professional killings of seven adults and 16-year-old boy.
They bodies were found in four different properties southwest of the village of Piketon on Friday.
All eight victims were shot in the head, some as they slept, including a mother in bed with her four-day-old baby nearby.
The infant and two other small children were not hurt.
Authorities have not released the victims’ names, although they are said to be members of the Rhoden family.
Pastor Phil Fulton of the Union Hill Church told local media they were 37-year-old Dana Rhoden, her adult children and grandchildren and her ex-husband.
Police said none of the deaths appeared to be self-inflicted, so they believe at least one assailant is at large.
They added whoever was responsible should be considered armed and dangerous.
Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader has warned local residents to be extra careful, as well as family members.
“This really is a question of public safety, and particularly for any of the Rhoden family,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said.
Sheriff Reader said on Friday night that authorities had spoken to more than 100 relatives and friends of the Rhoden family at a church.
Mr DeWine dismissed a claim that a person of interest was among those questioned.
The Pike County Sheriff’s Office has called in the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to help with the inquiry.
The FBI in Cincinnati has said it is monitoring the situation closely and has offered assistance if needed.
The first three homes where bodies were found are within a couple miles of each other on a sparsely-populated stretch of road.
The eighth body, a man’s, was found in a house farther away.
Pike County lies about 80 miles (130km) east of Cincinnati on the western edge of Appalachia.
It has around 28,000 residents, more than a quarter of whom live in poverty.