Head in hands, his voice strained, Vincent Mitchell sat outside his little yellow home and tried to make sense of how a family dispute led to a rampage that killed eight people, including the deputy who tried to keep them safe. "I'm devastated. It don't seem like it's real," Mitchell told the AP shortly after the arrest of his stepson-in-law, Willie Corey Godbolt. "Him and my stepdaughter, they've been going back and forth for a couple of years with that domestic violence." Godbolt showed up at Mitchell's home in the southern Mississippi town of Bogue Chitto shortly before midnight Saturday to demand that his estranged wife give up their two children. She and the kids had been staying with them for about three weeks, Mitchell says. "The deputy was called," and asked him to leave.
It seemed like Godbolt would comply at first, Mitchell says. "Then he reached in his back pocket and grabbed a gun." Mitchell escaped along with Godbolt's wife, but Mitchell's wife, her sister, and one of the wife's daughters were killed. Also slain was Deputy William Durr, a two-year sheriff's department veteran and former police officer in nearby Brookhaven, where authorities say Godbolt fled and killed four more people at two other homes. Authorities on Monday said Godbolt was related to or acquainted with all the victims except Durr. A member of Godbolt's church previously told the AP that everyone but the deputy was related to Godbolt by blood or marriage. Godbolt is hospitalized in good condition with a gunshot wound.