6-year-old girl only survivor of massacre in Manchester

Police surrounded the public housing apartment with yellow tape and kept the throng of reporters more than a block away from the residence.

Authorities identified the victims of Wednesday's mass shooting in Manchester, Ill.

JoAnn Sinclair, 66; James Ralston, 29; Brittney Luark, 23; Nolan Ralston, 5 and Brantley Ralston, 1, died in the early morning shooting, the Scott County Sheriff's said.

A 6-year-old girl injured in the shooting has not been formally identified by police. She's currently being treated at a local hospital.

The killer, Rick O. Smith, 43, died at 10:10 a.m. Wednesday at an area hospital after a shootout with police officers.

Illinois State Police exchanged shots with Smith at Illinois Route 106 and Woodson Blacktop near Winchester where they took the man in custody. Smith was taken to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The five victims found in a single-story public housing apartment on East Street, including two male children, two adult females and an adult male were all shot at close range with a shotgun. Police say two victims were found in one bedroom, two in another bedroom and an adult male in a hallway.

Smith took the surviving six-year-old and placed her in the arms of a neighbor before leading police, deputies and troopers on a high-speed chase. It appears that Smith forced his way into the apartment through the back door.

According to


in St. Louis, Smith's brother spoke on Wednesday's chain of events and he prays the little girl recovers fully and can heal emotionally.

To read his quote and more of the KPLR story, click here.

Carlos Sadovi and Rafael Guerrero with the Chicago Tribune report a source said the man told the neighbor to take the child to a hospital and then the neighbor called police. Click here for the full story from the Chicago Tribune.

Manchester Village President Ron Drake grieved along with residents of his small community.

â??I think it's a terrific tragedy for the Village,â?? he said. â??In my 43 years here we haven't had a homicide that I know of it's just strictly a tragedy.â??

Drake says the suspected gunman was his nephew. He hadn't spoken to Smith in two years but he believes his nephew was unemployed.

Troopers later discovered that Smith had several weapons in his possession at the time the chase ended.

"Today's events have been tragic for this community and the families of the victims," Lt. Todd Kilby of the Illinois State Police said.

Smith ran from police for nearly two hours. He exchanged gunfire with officers after the high-speed pursuit.

Search warrants were filed in the Scott County Clerk of Court for Smith's home and property in connection with Wednesday morning's events, according to office officials. The contents of those warrants aren't currently part of the public record. While no motive is known, the state police said Smith does have a criminal record.

State police released early details of the incident at a press conference held about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. A Manchester resident shouted from a nearby church that reporters should leave. About 20 residents attended at the press conference.

Police surrounded the public housing apartment with yellow tape and kept the throng of reporters more than a block away from the residence. Officers could also be seen examining the rear entrance of the fenced-off lawn. Troopers from the Illinois State Police still gathered evidence near Illinois 106 and Woodson Blacktop well into the afternoon. (See photos.)

Illinois State Police Trooper Mike Kindhart spoke to media during the 9 o'clock hour. His statements are available through our Springfield sister station



Manchester is a small town of less than 300 people, about 85 miles east of Quincy and 18 miles south of Jacksonville. Resident Barry Wright lives in the housing complex on the East Street neighborhood where the shooting occurred.

"I was told to go back to my apartment,â?? Wright said. â??I saw the state police there at 4:30 a.m. We're in a state of shock here this morning."

Randy and Becky Cooper live a block east from the Scott County Housing Authority apartments that are still cordoned off as a crime scene. The couple who have lived in Manchester for 29 years described the community as the sort of place where you can leave your doors unlocked. "It's very quiet and protective," he said. "We keep an eye on our neighbors."

The couple are school teachers and stayed home Wednesday as classes in all neighboring districts were cancelled. The couple says that incidents like this shooting will change the nature of their community, but they have faith that good will endure. "It changes your lives," Becky Cooper said. "I was telling my son that life can end at any moment and you need to make sure you're right with god."

Four Rivers Special Education District, Westfair Christian Academy, Jacksonville District 117, North Greene and Winchester Schools remain closed for the day.

Jacksonville School District 117 sent out a message this morning. "Due to the shooting last night in Manchester, Illinois, Jacksonville School District 117 has canceled classes for today, April 24. In the best interest of our students and our staff, District 117 has canceled school for today."

Cara Sue Crane was once Smith's school teacher.

â??He did have some problems but I never had any problem with him and I don't know lately if he's had problems or not,â?? she said. â??He's just a kid from around town and I taught him and his cousins and brother."

Scott County's last homicide was in 1993. This is the first multiple homicide known to Scott County.

We'll continue to update this story as more details come in. Stay with KHQA for the latest updates.