1-year-old among 5 victims identified in Manchester, Illinois killings


by KMOV.com staff


Posted on April 25, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 25 at 4:39 PM

Manchester, Illinois

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MANCHESTER, Ill. (KMOV) – Police have identified five people who were killed inside a home in Manchester, Illinois Wednesday morning.

According to Illinois State Police, officers responded to a home on Main St. in Manchester, Illinois around 4:30 a.m. after getting reports of gunshots.

Upon their arrival, they found five people dead. A 6-year-old girl also found at the home was taken to the St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, where she remained Thursday morning.

Those killed were identified as JoAnn Sinclair, 66, Brittney Luark, 23, Nolan Ralston, 5, Brantley Ralston, 1, and James Ralston, 29.

Additional information on the victims was not immediately available.

Authorities said the suspect, 43-year-old Rick Smith, fled the scene in a white Chevrolet Lumina and was spotted about two and half hours later by police.

A high-speed chase ensued and ended about 15 minutes later near Illinois Route 106 and Woodson Blacktop in Winchester City.

Police said multiple shots were exchanged before Smith was apprehended. He was taken to a hospital, where he died. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Authorities said they recovered multiple weapons at the scene of the shootout.

In a brief statement to reporters, Illinois State Police Lt. Col. Todd Kilby did not 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.

In Manchester, yellow police tape surrounded the small one-story brick home where the victims were found.

“This shows tragedy can happen anywhere,” said the Rev. Robin Lyons of Manchester United Methodist Church, one of two churches in the community.

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. WLDS radio reports Jacksonville District 117 was also closed because of the incident.

Roberts and Stevens said they were waiting to hear if any of the victims were children who attended schools in their districts.

According to 2011 census data, Manchester, Ill. has a population of 292. It’s located about 62 miles north of St. Louis and 14 miles southwest of Jacksonville, Ill.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.