Manchester slaying unites community in grief
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 18:10:03 GMT —
The Scott County Coroner's Office released the names of the five people shot to death during a Wednesday morning home invasion in Manchester, Ill.
It also confirmed that one of the victims was pregnant.
James Roy Ralston, 29, was the father of the 5-year-old Nolan Ralston and 1-year-old Brantley Ralston. Both children were killed.
Brittney Luark, 23, mother of the two deceased children. The coroner's office also confirmed that Luark was pregnant at the time of her death.
Jo Ann Sinclair, 67, was Brittney Luark's grandmother.
Their suspected killer, Rick O. Smith, 43, died at 10:10 a.m. Wednesday at an area hospital after a high-speed chase and shootout with law enforcement. Smith shot the victims at close range with a shotgun, according to state police reports.
The sixth victim was a 6-year-old child hospitalized with serious injuries. Her condition was upgraded Thursday to stable, trooper Mike Kindhart of the Illinois State Police said.
â??I would say that it won't be long before you'll start to get a clearer picture of how all of these people are connected,â?? Kindhart said.
The streets of Manchester were almost back to normal the day after the only mass murder in the county's recent history.
Smith's uncle and Manchester Village President Ron Drake said the weather was his area's biggest threat until Wednesday morning.
"I never thought something like this could happen," he said.
Drew Summers lives right next door to where the shootings took place. He is also Smith's cousin.
"Just to think, another 10 foot and he could've walked right in my door and done the same thing to my family. It's just unsettling. Just how easy it could be for him to walk into somebody's house like that."
According to the Associated Press, an effort is under way to raise money for the burial of five people shot to death this week in the small central Illinois town of Manchester.
A spokeswoman for Peoples Bank & Trust says a fund has been set up by a friend of Rita Luark, the mother of one of the victims and the grandmother of the two young boys who died, because Luark cannot afford burial costs.
Spokeswoman Lorie Doolin says the fund has been set up in the bank's branch in nearby White Hall. For more information, the bank suggests people visit their website, www.bankpbt.com.
The community is gathering on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Supportthefamilyaffectedbytheshootinginmanchester where numerous people are sharing prayers and coming together to grieve.
A prayer vigil is planned for Sunday, April 28 at 7 p.m. at Village Park in Manchester. Supporters will meet across from the Baptist Church in that location.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.