BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio – Six people, including two children, were found shot to death Sunday in neighboring farmhouses, and investigators believe one of the dead was responsible for the slayings, a sheriff's officer said.
The same family owned both houses on a farm of several hundred acres. Two bodies were found in one farmhouse and four were found in another.
Authorities said the shootings probably happened Sunday morning at the farm west of Bellefontaine, a town of 13,000 people about 45 miles northwest of Columbus (search).
"I've being doing this for 35 years, and I've never seen anything like this," Logan County Sheriff's Lt. Chuck Stout said.
Investigators believe one of the dead was responsible for the attack, Stout said, but he would not elaborate.
Sheriff Michael Henry identified the dead as Paige Harshbarger, 14; Scott Moody, 18; Megan Karus, 19; Sheri Shafer, 37; Sharyl Shafer, 66; and Gary Shafer, 67.
Sharyl and Gary Shafer were found in one farmhouse, while the others were found in a second house about a quarter-mile away along a two-lane road, Henry said. Corn and soybean fields surrounded the white-paneled, two-story homes, each of which was marked by a "no trespassing" sign.
The sheriff would not provide details about the relationship between the victims.
A seventh person, Stacy Moody, 15, was shot in the neck. After being injured, she called a friend who alerted authorities. Moody was flown to Ohio State University Medical Center (search) in Columbus. The sheriff did not know her condition.
Investigators found several guns at the scene, Henry said, including a rifle inside the house where four bodies were discovered. He would not say whether the rifle was the weapon used in the shootings.
Officers had received 10 nuisance calls concerning that house, though the sheriff would not provide details about the complaints.
As detectives interviewed friends and family members of the victims, people drifted in and out of the sheriff's office Sunday afternoon, hugging and crying. One woman nearly collapsed moments after arriving and speaking with people at the office, and deputies had to help her inside.
"Dealing with a small community like this, everyone knows everyone," Henry said.