Eight people, including a law enforcement officer, have been shot dead in rural Mississippi, authorities said Sunday.
The victims were discovered in three separate locations in rural Lincoln County overnight, according to Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain.
The shooting spree began sometime before 11:30 p.m. local time (12:30 a.m. Sunday ET) when authorities received a domestic call in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi, Strain said.
The bodies of three women and a Lincoln County sheriff's deputy were found at that scene, he said.
The other victims were discovered at two separate homes in Brookhaven, Mississippi, where the bodies of two boys and an adult man and woman were found, Strain said.
The slain deputy was identified as 36-year-old William Durr, a two-year veteran at the sheriff's department and four-year veteran of the Brookhaven Police Department. The identities of the other victims have not been released, pending notification of next of kin.
The Oxford Police Department in Mississippi tweeted a tribute to Durr on Sunday afternoon.
Willie Corey Godbolt, 35, was taken into custody and being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound, Strain told NBC News. Officials did not say how Godbolt was injured and charges have not yet been filed.
Strain said the investigation was ongoing.
He added that it was not clear if the suspect knew his victims before he allegedly killed them and that it would be “premature” to discuss a motive.
The suspect, while handcuffed and on the ground immediately following his arrest, told The Clarion-Ledger newspaper he was talking with his wife and members of her family when someone called the authorities.
"We [were] talking about me taking my children ... I was having a conversation with her step-daddy and her mama and her, my wife, about me taking my children home," Godbolt said while still surrounded by officers. "Somebody called the officer, people that didn’t even live at the house, but that’s what they do. They intervene."
"It cost him his life. I'm sorry," Godbolt said, in reference to the deputy.
Godbolt said his intention was to be killed by police.
"I ran out of bullets," he said. "Suicide by cop was my intention."
"I ain't fit to live. Not after what I've done," he said.
Family members told NBC affiliate WLBT that a husband and wife were among those killed.
Governor Phil Bryant issued a statement on Facebook, reading: "I ask all Mississippians to join Deborah and me in praying for those lost in Lincoln County. Every day, the men and women who wear the badge make some measure of sacrifice to protect and serve their communities. Too often, we lose one of our finest. I thank the law enforcement agencies involved for their hard work. May the peace of the Almighty wash over those hurting after this senseless tragedy."