Updated below. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported on the morning of Feb. 27 that nine people have been confirmed shot dead at various locales in Tyrone, Missouri, a town about 135 southwest of St. Louis in south-central Missouri, according to CNN. The nine dead included a male 36-year-old murder suspect and an elderly woman found dead from suspected natural causes.
The highway patrol reported that the suspect was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a parked vehicle in Shannon County, the county next to the town of Tyrone. Officials described the deaths as homicides, with the original police response due to a report of shots fired in the area on Thursday night. The victims were found in four different homes in Tyrone. KY3 in Missouri reported the highway patrol as saying that the deaths resulted from a “shooting spree.”
At approximately 10:15 p.m. on Thursday, the Texas County Sheriff’s Department received a call from “a frightened girl” in Tyrone who reported gunfire at her residence, according to The Houston Herald. That young girl sought refuge at a neighbor’s house. Deputies arrived at the girl’s home and discovered two dead bodies.
As the investigation into the shooting deaths proceeded, deputies found five more dead at three other homes in Tyrone. Investigators also found one wounded victim, still alive, who was transported to a local hospital. It was during the search of homes in the area that investigators found the elderly woman who they believe died from natural causes.
Police were going door to door in the neighborhood during the middle of night, knocking on doors and awakening residents as they searched for additional fatalities. Residents were told to stay indoors and not open their doors to anyone they didn’t know.
There is still no known motive for the shootings. At a press conference held on Friday morning, Sgt. Jeff Kinder of the highway patrol said that none of the victims’ name would be released until next of kin had been notified, according to WPRI. For more on the story, including visuals taken overnight in the area, see the video accompanying this article.
Update: USA Today reported that the murder suspect has been identified as Joseph Jesse Aldridge of Tyrone. There is speculation that Aldridge may have become unhinged at finding his mother deceased in their home. His mother, 74-year old Alice Aldridge, was the elderly woman police found dead from natural causes. The two lived together in the same home in Tyrone.
At least four of the victims have been identified as the suspect’s cousins: Garold Dee Aldridge, 52, Julie Ann Aldridge, 47, Harold Wayne Aldridge, 50, and Janell Arlisa Aldridge, 48. The highway patrol said that Aldridge went door to door in his killing rampage.
The joint investigation into the mass murder-suicide is being conducted by the Texas County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control. Anyone with any information regarding the shootings can contact the Texas County Sheriff’s Department at 417-967-4165 or the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 417 469-3121.