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Gunman on the loose as eight shot in the head in 'execution style' killings

Published 22/04/2016

Authorities said there are multiple crime scenes along the same road
Authorities said there are multiple crime scenes along the same road

Eight members of the same family were shot in the head in "execution style" killings at four locations in rural Ohio, police said.

The killer was still on the loose and considered armed and dangerous, police said, as they warned surviving relatives and residents to be on their guard.

Three children, aged just four days old to three years, survived the rampage that left seven adults and a 16-year-old boy dead, Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader told a news conference.

Authorities said preliminary information indicated that none of the victims had taken their own life. Mr DeWine said it was possible more than one person was involved in the killings.

Some of the victims were in bed, indicating they were shot while they were sleeping. The victims were identified as members of the Rhoden family.

"It's heartbreaking," Mr DeWine said. "The one mother was killed in her bed with the four-day-old right there."

A motive was not clear, authorities said.

A dozen Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents were called on Friday morning to Pike County, an economically struggling area in the Appalachian region some 80 miles east of Cincinnati.

Governor John Kasich, campaigning in Pennsylvania for his Republican presidential bid, said his office was monitoring the situation in Pike County.

"Reports we are receiving from Peebles are tragic beyond comprehension," he wrote on his Twitter account.

The FBI in Cincinnati also said it was closely monitoring the situation and has offered assistance to the Pike County sheriff's office if needed.

Peebles High School imposed a precautionary lock-out on Friday morning after authorities notified the school head of the shootings a few miles away.

The school was operating normally a few hours later.

Piketon is the site of a Cold War-era uranium plant that was closed in 2001.

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From Belfast Telegraph