Today's shooting rampage in Missouri appears to have started after the gunman came home to find his mother dead on the couch of natural causes. She was 74 and had been ill, and police in Tyrone don't suspect foul play in her death. For reasons that remain unclear, her 36-year-old son, identified as Joseph Aldridge, then went to multiple houses and shot to death four men and three women ranging in age from their mid-40s to early 60s, reports CNN and USA Today. Another victim, a woman, remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Police say Aldridge, who killed himself after the shooting spree, was a cousin to at least four of the victims. The others may have been their spouses.
"We're speculating that he came home and found her deceased and then for whatever reason went on a rampage and started killing people," the Texas County coroner tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "This is just so strange. Right now, with the shooter dead, we don't know. Is there something that sparked this? We're still in the information-gathering stage." The first call to police appears to have been made early this morning by the 15-year-old daughter of two of the victims, reports the Springfield News-Leader. The girl fled to a neighbor's home and said her parents had been shot. "She said she seen a man in her dad's bedroom, talking to him in a normal voice," says the neighbor. "Then she said she heard gunshots and screaming." (Read more Missouri stories.)