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Community Reacts to Manchester Murders
Manchester is the kind of town where everyone knows everybody else. The shooter's uncle is the Village President.
Right now, everyone there has a heavy heart, as the small community grieves the brutal murder of five people. The man police say is responsible is dead, after a shootout with police. Forty-three-year old Rick O'Dell Smith was bipolar, according to his family members. His brother, Bryan Smith, spoke to him three weeks ago and said he never saw this coming.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families," Smith said. "As far as my brother, I love my brother. It was not a random event. In his mind, he was protecting his daughter,"
Smith wouldn't elaborate on how or why his brother may have been protecting his daughter, who was not at the apartment. Smith's family said the two adult women killed were the grandma and aunt of Smith's daughter.
Three of the six victims were children. All were shot at close range with a shotgun. A six-year-old girl survived and is in critical condition.
So far, police don't know a motive.
Neighbor Julie Hardwick told us through tears, "I don't know what I would do if it was my grandkids. I'm glad I didn't hear the shooting or nothing--it's terrible."
In a town where no one locked their doors, residents now remain on edge. Even though police say there's no longer a threat, the heartbreak will be felt for a long time.
"It's devastating," Village President Ron Drake said. "People in the community I've talked to--it's just a tragedy. We just have to work together and bring it back to what it was before."
Autopsies on the five victims will be conducted Thursday in Bloomington.