Investigators seek motive in Mississippi shooting rampage that left 8 dead

PHOTO: Willie Corey Godbolt is arrested near Brookhaven following a shooting rampage in Lincoln County, Mississippi, May 28, 2017. PlayTherese Apel/The Clarion-Ledger/via Reuters
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Investigators have yet to determine what triggered a 35-year-old man to allegedly kill a sheriff's deputy and seven other people in a shooting rampage in rural Mississippi over Memorial Day weekend.

The suspect, Willie Corey Godbolt, was apprehended Sunday after the shootings, which took place overnight Saturday. The preliminary investigation indicates that Godbolt was either related to or an acquaintance of the victims, police said.

Godbolt remains hospitalized at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, where he's receiving treatment for a gunshot wound, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain told ABC News.

Godbolt reportedly told The Clarion-Ledger at the scene of his arrest that he had attempted to commit "suicide by cop."

"I ain't fit to live, not after what I done," he told the paper while handcuffed.

Godbolt has been preliminarily charged with one count of capital murder and seven counts of first-degree murder, but those charges could evolve in the coming days. He has yet to be formally charged, as he remains in the hospital. Strain told ABC News that he didn't anticipate that Godbolt would leave the hospital today.

The rampage began at the home of Godbolt's in-laws in Bogue Chitto, a rural region of Mississippi, according to The Associated Press. There, he allegedly got into an argument with his estranged wife over their children, the AP reported.

Vincent Mitchell, Godbolt's stepfather-in-law, told the AP that Godbolt's wife and their two children had been staying there for about three weeks after she left her husband.

"I'm devastated. It don't seem like it's real," Mitchell told the AP shortly after Godbolt's arrest. "Him and my stepdaughter, they've been going back and forth for a couple of years with that domestic violence."

Godbolt arrived at the house shortly before midnight on Saturday, Mitchell told the AP. He allegedly became violent after a deputy with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department was called to the scene, Mitchell said.

"He acted like, motioned like he was fixing to go. Then he reached in his back pocket and grabbed a gun," Mitchell told the AP. "He just started shooting everything."

Among those killed was sheriff's deputy William Durr. He served as a deputy for the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department for two years, Strain told ABC News. Before that, Durr worked for four years at the Brookhaven Police Department.

Mitchell's wife, her sister and one of the wife's daughters were also killed, the AP reported.

Four more bodies were found at two other crime scenes, police said.

Godbolt was arrested near a third crime scene, according to the AP.

At least two of the victims were younger than 18, according to police.

It's unclear whether Godbolt has obtained a lawyer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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