Gunman kills ex-wife, five others in Mississippi shooting

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Authorities investigate the scene of multiple shootings in Arkabutla, Mississippi [Nikki Boertman/The Associated Press]

Friday’s attack took place in Arkabutla, a town with about 285 residents in northern Mississippi, US.

A gunman has fatally shot six people, including his ex-wife, across several sites in a small rural town in the US south.

Armed with a shotgun and two handguns, 52-year-old Richard Dale Crum opened fire on Friday morning and killed a man in the driver’s seat of a pick-up truck parked outside a convenience store in Arkabutla, near the Tennessee state line, Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance said.

In addition to his ex-wife, the gunman also killed his stepfather and stepsister, according to police.

Police at the crime scene were then alerted to another shooting a short distance away. There, they found a woman, identified as Crum’s ex-wife, dead and her current husband wounded.

Police then found Crum outside his own home and arrested him. Behind his residence they found two handymen slain by gunfire – one on the road and the other in an SUV.

Inside a neighbouring home, they discovered the bodies of Crum’s stepfather and his stepfather’s sister.

Crum was jailed without bond on a single charge of capital murder, and Lance said investigators were working to bring additional charges.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, who regularly receives top ratings from the National Rifle Association (NRA), an influential pro-gun lobbying group, said he had been briefed on the most recent attack.

‘Epidemic’

Friday’s attack in Arkabutla, a town of about 285 residents in northern Mississippi, marked the most recent mass shooting in the US, where such attacks have become strikingly common.

There have already been 73 such shootings, defined as having four or more victims, in the country in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

The latest mass shooting in the country again prompted condemnation from US President Joe Biden.

“Enough,” Biden in a statement released Friday night. “We are 48 days into the year and our nation has already suffered at least 73 mass shootings. Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Gun violence is an epidemic and Congress must act now.”

INTERACTIVE The deadliest mass shootings in the US infographic updated 2022

The message echoed the same exasperated tone struck by the president after a mass shooting at a Michigan university just four days earlier left three students dead.

In January, two high-profile mass shootings also occurred in less than a week, both in California and involving the Asian American community.

Biden has made gun reform a priority of his presidency, but efforts to boost federal controls have long been stifled by deeply entrenched political opposition.

Nevertheless, in 2022, Biden signed into law the first federal gun control legislation in the country in decades. However, advocates said the bill fell far short of several long-sought reforms, including higher age restrictions for gun purchases and a federal ban on assault weapons.

INTERACTIVE Gun violence Mass shootings across the US in 2022

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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