Police have now identified the man behind yesterday’s deadly south Alabama shooting spree. Police say Michael McLendon of Kinston went on a two county rampage before turning the gun on himself. The Coffee County coroner said McLendon started his day off with bloodshed at the Kinston area home owned by his mother; a home he ended up burning to the ground. The mother’s body was still inside the house Tuesday evening, but Coroner Robert Preachers said officials had not been able to enter the house to determine if she was shot. It’s also believed McClendon’s girlfriend was killed inside the home.The body count now stands at twelve, including the gunman. Others citizens and law enforcment officers were wounded as McClendon drove though town firing shots at anyone in his path.
The man’s shooting spree covered two counties (Coffee and Geneva) and targeted people in the town of Kinston and the cities of Samson and Geneva in extreme southeast Alabama.
Victim identities and a motive remain unknown. Several of the victims of the gunman were related to him including McLendon’s grandparents, an aunt and an uncle. Victims ranged in age from 18 months to 74-years-old.
Col. Chris Murphy held an evening news conference at the Alabama State Troopers post in Montgomery to provide details. Murphy called the day’s events “one of the worst tragedies in recent memory.”
Murphy said Governor Bob Riley was briefed on the situation, and he spoke with area mayors a short time later. Riley promised state resources to help those local municipalities deal with the aftermath.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and many other agencies continue to work multiple crime scenes.
Murphy told media outlets that four adults and one child were found dead inside of one house, and one body was found at each of two other houses in the Samson area.
Investigators said McLendon drove down Highway 52 where he fired at least seven times on a state trooper vehicle. The trooper was wounded by broken glass.
He then drove to the Samson Pipe and Supply Company on Highway 52 where he gunned down another victim. Afterwards, he took aim at an innocent civilian at a local service station in the same area. That victim also died of their wounds.
Geneva police then began a pursuit of the suspect’s vehicle, chasing McLendon to the Reliable Metal Products company in Geneva. Officials later confirmed he had been a former employee of the company, but the reasons for his leaving the company were not immediately know.
On there, officials said the man fired at least a 30 round burst of ammunition at the city police chief before running inside the business. The police chief was grazed by gunfire but was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
A short time later investigators said they heard shots inside the building, and when they entered the business they found the man dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.