(Photo: Facebook/Straight from the Heart Photography)
Officials have released more information about the overnight shooting that left five people dead and several towns on lockdown in central Illinois. Sources have confirmed that it was a family shooting that left two children and an unborn child and girlfriend dead.
Resident Rick Smith allegedly killed Roy Ralston and his girlfriend Brittney Luark, who was pregnant at the time. Ralston's two youngest boys were killed and his daughter taken to the hospital in critical condition, resident and family friend Amber Dunham confirmed to The Christian Post exclusively.
Police searched overnight for the suspect and ordered that all schools in the surrounding towns be closed in order to protect students and parents alike. Residents were relieved to learn that Smith was apprehended after a high-speed chase and shootout with police earlier this morning.
"He shot his family," Winchester resident Donna Dawes told CP. "He's been taken to the hospital, so he's obviously injured," she added.
Residents of Manchester, Winchester and other neighboring towns are applauding police and first responders for their fast action and capture of the suspect overnight, much like the residents of Boston cheered for law enforcement after the capture of the second bombing suspect.
"I live in Winchester, and I must say that the law enforcement did an excellent job! Thank you!" Brittany Stice posted on Facebook.
Police have not released a motive yet, but members of the small town have been left in shock at the violent deaths of an entire family.
"Deadly shooting near my husband's hometown (which happens to be where I went to college) makes national headlines. The schools were closed as a precaution. What a nightmare. Prayers out to little Manchester and all those touched by this disaster… Why? Why? Why can't there be some good news in the media?" Leah Lowes Brock posted on Facebook.
"Thoughts and prayers to the medical personnel [who] responded to the Manchester shootings this morning," added Jack Varble.