Late Thursday night, local sheriffs responded to reports of gunfire at an Alabama home.
Upon reaching the scene, they found a home on fire with seven deceased victims inside. An investigation was launched to track down the shooters as well as a motive early Friday.
According to Fox News, Officer Mike Swafford told a local news station, “It is a horrific scene and to be able to process it will take some time.”
“We don’t have a motive at this time,” he said. “We don’t have a determined suspect at this time. Investigators are following leads to piece together exactly what happened and who was involved. We can say we don’t believe there is an active threat to anybody in the area.”
The victims included four men and three women, ranging in age from 17 to 45. AL.com reported Friday that six of the victims had been identified, including a 17-year-old female.
The individuals identified by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office were: Tammy England Muzzey, 45, and 21-year-old Emily Brooke Payne, both of Valhermoso Springs; Roger Lee Jones Jr., 19, of Decatur; a 17-year-old juvenile girl; 31-year-old Jeramy Wade Roberts of Athens; and 18-year-old William Zane Hodgin of Somerville.
On Saturday, the last victim was identified as James Wayne Benford, 22.
No immediate threat
As horrific as this scene was, police seemed very confident that there was no immediate threat to anyone else.
House in rural Morgan County where 7 people were shot to death overnight. Neighbor said house known for heavy drug activity. Sheriff dept. said received frequent calls to house, including drugs. pic.twitter.com/ZkYqJMvJ44
— Paul Gattis (@paul_gattis) June 5, 2020
According to reports, the police had been called to the home multiple times for drug-related activity in the past year.
While police do not have a suspect at this time, Officer Swafford told AL.com that he believes the suspect went into the home with the sole intention of murdering everyone inside.
He characterized the killings as “incredibly heinous, talking cold-blooded.”
With seven victims, this is now one of the worst mass homicides in recent history in the state of Alabama. The only shooting that would surpass it in recent times would the 2009 shooting spree in Samson that accounted for the loss of 11 lives.