Dispute preceded 5 killings in Illinois, police say

MANCHESTER, Ill. — The man suspected of storming a south-central Illinois home and killing five members of a family with a shotgun had been in a dispute with at least one victim, but authorities said Thursday they were still trying to determine if it had something to do with the custody of a child.

State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said investigators are looking into a possible custody battle involving Rick O. Smith, and were going to places he frequented.

“Investigators are ... talking to family and friends, just kind of backtracking to see what can be pieced together.”


Smith allegedly shot and killed a 1-year-old boy, his 5-year-old brother, their pregnant mother, their father, and their great grandmother. The boys’ 6-year-old sister was also shot, but survived. Smith, the nephew of the town’s mayor, was killed while exchanging gunfire with police.

Associated Press