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Authorities were working Wednesday to learn why a gunman set off on a rampage, killing 10 people across two rural Alabama counties. Grieving residents feared the answers could have been lost when he ended the terror by killing himself.


The shooting was believed to be the worst mass killing by a single gunman in Alabama's history. The gunman's mother, four other relatives and the wife and child of a local sheriff's deputy were among the dead.

"He cleaned his family out," Coffee County Coroner Robert Preachers said. "We don't know what triggered it."

The shootings happened Tuesday afternoon in a mostly rural area near the Florida border, and were believed to be the work of Michael McLendon, a man in his 20s who lived with his mother and once worked at a local metal plant.

The spree began around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when McLendon burned down his mother's house in Kinston. Coffee County Sheriff Dave Sutton said McClendon put his mother, Lisa McLendon, on an L-shaped couch, piled stuff on top of her and set her afire. He said McClendon also shot four dogs at the house.

Then, McLendon drove a dozen miles southeast to Samson, in Geneva County, where he opened fire at a relative's porch, killing three relatives and two others before shooting another relative next door. After, he drove around the town shooting out his car window, killing three more people seemingly at random, authorities said.


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