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Eleven die in Alabama shootings

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Locals from the community have been talking about the incident

Police are investigating why a gunman killed 10 people in a series of shootings in the southern US state of Alabama before killing himself.

The gunman burned down his own house, before firing on homes, shops and vehicles in the towns of Samson and Geneva near the Florida border.

Several of the victims are believed to have been members of the gunman's extended family.

The wife and daughter of a local police officer were also killed.

The gunman was named by local officials as Michael McLendon, 28, who had recently left his job at a local sausage factory.

Map of Alabama

The bloodshed began when McLendon shot his mother in the house where the two of them lived in Kinston, near Samson.

He then placed his mother on a couch and set the house on fire

McLendon also shot four dogs at the house, officials said.

Shock

The suspect then headed to a house in Samson where he shot and killed three relatives as well as the wife and daughter of Josh Myers, a local sheriff's deputy.

Deputy Myers's other daughter was injured in the incident and was set to undergo treatment in a local hospital for a wound to the leg caused by a bullet or shrapnel.

"I cried so much yesterday, I don't have a tear left in me," Mr Myers said.

"I feel like I should be able to walk in the house and my wife would be there, my baby girl climbing on me."

After leaving his relatives' home, the gunman moved to a neighbouring home, where he shot dead a 74-year-old woman - also a relative, according to officials.

"He cleaned his family out," said Coffee County Coroner Robert Preachers.

Police in Samson seal off scene
Police are being assisted in their investigation by the FBI

The gunman then drove around Samson, killing two people at a Samson convenience store, and another man driving a pick-up truck.

"He just cruised his automobile through Samson and was spraying the people with semi-automatic weapons [fire] at random," Reverend Mike Shirah, of Geneva's Maple Baptist Church, told the BBC.

Samson Mayor Clay King said the town had opened a crisis centre at a local church.

"I've lived here 44 years and never, never dreamed of this happening," Mr King told AP.

From Samson, the gunman drove 19km (12 miles) east to Geneva. At one point, officers rammed his car and gunfire was exchanged.

RECENT US SHOOTINGS
Dec 2008: A gunman dressed as Santa Claus kills nine people and himself on Christmas Eve in LA
Sept 2008: Six people die in a series of shootings in the north-west of Washington state
June 2008: A worker at a plastics plant in Kentucky kills five people and wounds one other before killing himself
Feb 2008: Five people die and 18 are wounded after a man opens fire at Northern Illinois University
Dec 2007: A gunman kills eight people and wounds five at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska, before killing himself
Apr 2007: 32 people and the gunman die at the Virginia Tech campus

Geneva police chief Frankie Lindsay says he was saved by his bullet-proof vest when the man shot at his patrol with an automatic weapon.

"About 11 rounds hit my vehicle," he told the BBC. "Some of the shrapnel from the bullets did enter my shoulder."

The suspect fired a total of 30 rounds during the exchange with police, officials say.

One of the officers involved in the shootout was Deputy Myers, who at the time was unaware that his wife and daughter had already been killed by the gunman.

The gunman then went inside a metal products plant where he is believed to have once worked, and shot himself.

There is no indication yet of a motive for the killings. The FBI has sent an agent to assist the local sheriff's office.

Samson has a population of about 2,000 people. Geneva's population is about 4,400.

The towns are in a quiet rural area and local people are shocked that the incident has happened there.



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