Authorities Look For Pike County Shooter; Three Children Survive Mass Killing
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine confirms seven people died "in what appears to be execution-style killings" in Pike County.
Attorney General Mike DeWine said an eighth body was located at a fourth location in the area. In a news conference this afternoon, officials said they do not know whether the eighth body is a victim or possibly a shooter.
DeWine said seven victims - six adults and one male teenager - were found in three Union Hill Road homes. He said all of them were shot in the head.
Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said Friday afternoon three small children - a 4 day old, a 6 month old and a 3 year old - survived the killings.
All of the deceased are members of the Rhoden family. Their names have not been released pending identification and notification of next of kin.
Reader encouraged other members of the Rhoden family "to be careful" and to "take caution."
"This is a question of public safety and [safety] to the Rhoden family," Reader said.
DeWine said officials believe the person or people "who committed the crime are at large" and authorities do not know their location.
"This is just a horrible tragedy," he said.
DeWine noted he briefed Gov. John Kasich on the shootings Friday afternoon.
Investigators do not have a motive for the shooting. At the news conference, the sheriff was asked whether a member of the Rhoden family could have been under an investigation. Reader said officials were checking into that.
Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents are in Pike County. Multiple other agencies are assisting the BCI. AG spokesman Dan Tierney said the Pike County sheriff's office requested state help this morning.
Phil Fulton is the pastor of nearby Union Hill Church. Fulton said he knew the victims.
"Very broken, so sad the tragedy of it, it’s just hard to understand. Just kind of in shock."
Fulton identified one of the victims as Dana Rhoden and her ex-husband. Fulton said the two were on friendly terms.
Pike County is about 75 miles south of Columbus.