Shooting Rampage That Left 8 Dead Devastated Small Missouri Town: Mayor

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The mayor of a small Missouri city where a suspected gunman killed seven people before turning the gun on himself said "it will take some time to heal," especially for those in the town of only a few dozen people where all of the victims lived.

In a bizarre unfolding of crime scenes early Friday morning, police found eight bodies spread across five houses in the unincorporated town of Tyrone, in Texas County, and one in a pickup truck in the middle of a highway, some 25 miles away.

"We all knew the victims, the suspect, and their families and that is what makes it so very difficult to understand how and why this could happen in our community," said Houston, Missouri, Mayor Don Tottingham.

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Houston is a city with a population of just over 2,000 people, according to census data, but only about 50 people live in Tyrone, which is encompassed by Houston, Tottingham told NBC News.

The entire county, which sees little violence, was shocked, Tottingham said. "We live in a very supportive area so will recover, but the loss and the hurt will take some time to heal," he added.

Darrell Dean Shriver, 68; his son, Carey Dean Shriver, 46; and his daughter-in-law, Valirea Love Shriver, 44, were found fatally shot in two separate houses, and two married couples, Darrell and Julie Aldridge and Harold and Janelle Aldridge, were found with fatal gunshot wounds in two other homes Friday.

The suspect, was found in his truck later that morning, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. His mother, 74-year-old Alice Aldridge, was also found dead in her home, but died of metastatic lung cancer, Texas County coroner, Tom Whittaker, told NBC News.

Whittaker speculated that the gunman's discovery of his mother's dead body may have sparked the rampage, but said, "I don't think we'll ever know for sure."

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— Elisha Fieldstadt