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Sheriff identifies suspect after six people killed in Tate County, Mississippi

The shooting happened Friday, Feb. 17 at the Express Mart off Arkabutla Road.

COLDWATER, Mississippi — Six people are dead in Tate County, Mississippi, after a shooting at a corner store, officials said Friday. 

Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance confirmed there was a shooting with six victims in Arkabutla. The sheriff identified the suspect in custody as 52-year-old Richard Dale Crum. He said Crum is charged with one count of first degree murder, with additional charges to come.

The incident happened at the Express Mart on Arkabutla Road. Sheriff Lance said they are working on three separate scenes.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation confirmed they have been asked to assist in the investigation.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he has been briefed on the shootings, and it is believed the shooter acted alone.

An elementary school and a high school in nearby Coldwater both went on lockdown while the suspect was being sought, according to the Coldwater Elementary School Facebook page. A short time later, a second post on the page said the lockdown had been lifted and "all students and staff are safe."

Arkabutla resident April Wade, who grew up in Coldwater, said both are small communities where most people know each other, "but if you don't, you know somebody who knows somebody."

Speaking from a local tire store in the afternoon, Wade said she and her husband were aware of the shootings but had not heard the names of the suspect or victims.

"I think it's crazy," Wade said. "You do not expect something like that to happen so close to home."

The shootings are the first mass killing in the U.S. since Jan. 23, which saw the last of six in a three-week period, according to an Associated Press/USA Today database. It defines a mass killing as four or more people dead, not including the perpetrator.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its agents were providing assistance to the sheriff's department and state investigators.

Arkabutla lies about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Memphis, Tennessee, and is home to 285 residents according to the 2020 Census. Nearby Arkabutla Lake is a popular fishing and recreational destination.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Credit: ABC24/Ian Ripple

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