By REGINA GARCIA CANO
MANCHESTER, Ill. - Five people were found shot to death Wednesday at a house in a tiny west-central Illinois town and a suspect was fatally wounded in a police chase and exchange of gunfire with officers, authorities said.
Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the five found at the house in Manchester were homicide victims, but could not confirm how they died. Manchester Mayor Ronald Drake, who lives a block from the house, said five people were fatally shot at about 4:30 a.m.
Authorities have not provided any details about the victims.
In a brief statement to reporters, state Police Lt. Col. Todd Kilby declined to provide any information on the victims or how they were killed. Kilby said the suspect, who had several weapons, was pronounced dead at a hospital after a police chase and exchange of gunfire.
He did not identify the suspect or describe the relationship between the suspect and the victims, and he declined to speculate on a possible motive for the killings. He refused to take questions.
A 6-year-old girl was wounded and taken to a hospital in Springfield, Kilby said.
Manchester is a Scotts County community of about 300 some 50 miles west of Springfield.
Two area school superintendents said they received calls from county sheriffs before 6 a.m. informing them that five people had been shot to death at a house in Manchester and that a suspect was at large.
Superintendent David Roberts of the Winchester School District and Les Stevens of the North Greene Unit District No. 3 said they both immediately canceled classes when they were told of the shootings early Wednesday, and that other school districts had done the same.
Roberts and Stevens said they were waiting to hear if any of the victims were children who attended schools in their districts.