NEW YORK — Mississippi man went on a shooting spree overnight, killing a sheriff’s deputy and seven other people in three separate locations in rural Lincoln County before the suspect was taken into custody by police, authorities said on Sunday.
Willie Corey Godbolt, 35, was arrested and was being treated in a hospital for a gunshot wound, according to Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
The sheriff’s deputy, identified as William Durr, was fatally shot after responding to an emergency call regarding a domestic dispute late on Saturday night at a house in Bogue Chitto, a small community about 69 miles south of Jackson, the state capital. Durr, 36, had worked for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department for two years, Strain said.
Godbolt also killed three females at the house, Strain said, before heading to another residence in the nearby city of Brookhaven and fatally shooting two boys, Strain said. He then headed to a third address to kill a male and a female victim. Except for the deputy, the victims have not been identified.
Video of Godbolt minutes after his arrest posted online by the Clarion-Ledger newspaper showed him in handcuffs sitting in a road, surrounded by officers.
He tells a reporter he had been arguing with relatives about “taking my children home” before they called the police on him. He expresses regret for shooting the sheriff’s deputy.
“Suicide by cop was my intention,” he says in the video. “I ain’t fit to live. Not after what I’ve done.”
Representatives of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.
A witness said Godbolt had been arguing with his estranged wife about their children when he opened fire inside his in-laws’ home after a sheriff’s deputy arrived.
Vincent Mitchell told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday the slayings of eight people “all stemmed from domestic violence.”
Mitchell says three family members were killed at his home. He says: “I’m devastated. It don’t seem like it’s real.”
He’s the stepfather-in-law of suspect Willie Corey Godbolt. He says Godbolt came to his home Saturday to talk with his wife about taking their two children.
Mitchell says Godbolt appeared to be leaving after a sheriff’s deputy was called to the house. But “then he reached into his back pocket. He started shooting.”
Mitchell says his wife, Barbara Mitchell, was killed along with her daughter, Toccarra May, and the wife’s sister, Brenda May. The deputy was also slain. Mitchell says he and the suspect’s wife escaped.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation says the 35-year-old Godbolt has been arrested and is in custody.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant called the killings a “senseless tragedy” in a statement.
“Every day, the men and women who wear the badge make some measure of sacrifice to protect and serve their communities,” his statement said. “Too often, we lose one of our finest.”
Lincoln County is a mostly rural area near Mississippi’s southern border with Louisiana, about 65 miles south of Jackson, the state’s capital.