After he shot his way into a home Wednesday in the small central Illinois town of Manchester, Rick Odell Smith gunned down a great-grandmother, a young couple and three young children, police said.
Then he did something that puzzled authorities.
Smith scooped up one of the children, a 6-year-old girl who was still alive, and carried her to a neighbor’s home.
Then he jumped into his white sedan and sped off. Police caught up with him hours later, and he died in a gunfight with officers, authorities said.
State Police Lt. Col. Todd Kilby said he couldn’t explain Smith’s apparent concern for the girl. “All I have is that it was a neighbor” who took her in, he said.
A source said the man told the neighbor to take her to a hospital. The neighbor called police.
The girl, Kassidy Ralston, was in critical condition at a hospital in Springfield with facial injuries, family members said.
The girl’s great-grandmother, her parents and her younger brothers died in the rampage. Officials have not released their names, but the victims were identified by relatives as Joanne Sinclair, 65; Brittany Luark, 22; her boyfriend, Roy Ralston; Nolan Ralston, 5; and Brantley Ralston, 1.