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5 slain in small Illinois town; girl survives

CHICAGO — Five people were slain Wednesday morning in a home in the small town of Manchester, about 50 miles southwest of Springfield, according to the Illinois state police.

A suspect was taken into custody after a police chase, during which shots were fired, officials said.

The victims lived in a first-floor apartment of a housing development and may be part of the same family, officials said. A young girl survived and was being treated at a hospital, according to state police spokeswoman Monique Bond.

Initial reports said they were shot to death, but Bond said officials were still trying to determine how they were killed.

Mayor Ron Drake, 66, said he was alerted around 4:45 a.m. by a page asking Scott County officials to respond to a multiple shooting.

He said the shootings occurred in a housing project and the victims are believed to have lived there. He could not say if they were from the same family.

He said a sixth person was taken to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield with a gunshot wound. The suspected gunman was also injured, Drake said, but he had no details.

An all-points bulletin was issued for the suspect and he was arrested shortly before 8 a.m. after a brief chase. “From the time they spotted him to the time they stopped was probably 10 minutes on the chase,” Drake said.

After he was pulled over, shots were fired, according to Bond.

These are the first murders in the town in the 43 years he has lived there. He said 300 people live in the town.

“It’s a tragedy,” he said. “I’ve lived here for 43 years and my wife’s lived her for all of her life and there’s never been a homicide.”

Illinois State Police responded with local police and SWAT teams overnight, she said. Schools in the area were closed as a precaution.

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