At least eight people have been killed in a series of “execution-style” shootings along a rural road east of Cincinnati, officials say, and the shooter or shooters remain at large. All victims were part of the same family.
The killings are believed to have been carried out overnight when most of the victims were asleep in their beds inside four separate houses along Union Hill Road in Pike County, which is roughly 60 miles east of Cincinnati.
Sheriff Charles Reader said the first call came in just before 8 a.m. ET when it was reported that 2 men who were possibly deceased had been found inside a residence. As deputies responded to the house, they were stopped by citizens who told them of 2 other addresses where bodies had also been found.
Additional deputies were called and searched the 3 addresses, after which a total of 7 victims were located, including a 16-year-old boy. As investigators began their investigation, a 911 call came in from a fourth residence miles away, where an 8th shooting victim was located.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, speaking at a press conference, said all 8 victims were part of the Rhoden family and had been shot “execution-style,” meaning they were shot in the head. Some of the victims were in their bed, including a woman who was in bed with her 4-day-old child next to her.
The woman’s baby, along with two other children ages 6 months and 3 years, were found unharmed.
DeWine added that none of the 8 victims are believed to have committed suicide, indicating that the person or persons responsible are still at large, but there has been no word on the possible identity of any suspects. All of the county’s deputies have been mobilized to assist in the search.
A possible motive for the killings was not immediately known but Sheriff Reader said he believed that the Rhoden family had been specifically targeted. As such, deputies have been sent out to confirm the safety of other members of the Rhoden family.
Earlier in the day, all schools in the Adams County Ohio Valley School District were placed on lockdown as a precaution.
The Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) is leading the investigation into Friday’s massacre and more than a dozen agents have been sent to the scene, including agents from the BCI’s Special Investigations Unit, Crime Scene Unit, Criminal Intelligence Unit, and the Cyber Crimes Unit.
Multiple other agencies are also assisting with the investigation, and the FBI said it was monitoring the events.
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