US & Canada

Ohio shootings: Manhunt intensifies after eight members of family killed

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Media captionA local businessman has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest

A huge manhunt has intensified in the US state of Ohio where police are investigating the deaths of eight members of the same family.

They were all shot in the head in four different locations southwest of Piketon. There is no information about a possible motive.

Officials say they are tracking down at least one assailant who is considered armed and dangerous.

Meanwhile, a man shot dead five people before killing himself in Georgia.

Officials said the shootings at two separate locations on Friday night stemmed from a domestic dispute.

The suspect was identified as 50-year-old Wayne Anthony Hawes.

Authorities believe the victims are connected to the gunman's wife, who had walked out on him a week before.

'Incredibly dangerous'

In Ohio, investigators interviewed 30 people, but no arrests had been made.

Seven of the victims were adults and an eighth was a 16-year-old boy. Several were apparently asleep in bed when they were killed, officials said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Police have so far made no arrests
Image copyright AP
Image caption Aerial view of one of the locations being investigated in Pike County, Ohio

They were all members of the Rhoden family, said Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, but they have not been individually identified.

The bodies were found in four separate homes along Union Hill Road in Pike County, in rural Ohio.

Three children, including a four-day-old baby found in bed with her mother, were spared, authorities said.

"There is a strong possibility that any individual involved in this is armed and incredibly dangerous," Mr Reader said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Bodies were found in area of rural Ohio

Authorities have recommended that residents be wary.

Investigators said they were following up on an "overwhelming" amount of tips, and that it was still unclear if the shootings were carried out by only one person or more.

Mr Reader said he would "suspect the family was being targeted". He said he had met about 100 relatives of the victims at a church and they were being offered protection.

The exact timing of the shootings remained unclear. Mr Reader said authorities were first alerted by an emergency call shortly before 08:00 on Friday, mentioning two possibly dead men.

A Cincinnati-area businessman offered $25,000 (£17,000) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in case.

Ohio Governor John Kasich has promised that those responsible will be found.

"We'll find them, we'll catch them and they'll be brought to justice,'' he said, while campaigning in Connecticut for his Republican presidential bid.

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