We’ve been holding off on commenting about Thursday night’s spree killing of seven family members followed by his suicide and the discovery of a ninth person who died of natural causes (did you get all that?) in rural Missouri until more facts were available.

Those facts are finally starting to come in.

The 36-year-old murderer* lived with his 74-year-old mother, and apparently came home from wherever he was to find that she had died of natural causes after a long illness. He then traveled to the homes of other relatives and murdered seven of them before taking his own life. There was one woman who was injured in the shooting who survived at one of the homes, and a minor child that escaped without injury who was orphaned.

The murderer was convicted felon with known mental health issues, and had been convicted of federal gun and drug charges in 2008.  The criminal could not have a firearm legally, but somehow acquired the .45-caliber handgun used in the murders and his suicide.

The specific motive for the murders may never be known. It is known that his relatives wanted nothing to do with him due to his long history of drug abuse and erratic behavior.

Gun control activists have been unusually quiet in regards to the murders, probably because the murderer’s felon status and mental health problems long ago prevented him from being able to acquire a firearm legally under both existing laws, and the more restrictive laws that these groups consistently champion.



* Bearing Arms does not publish the names of mass murderers or spree killers.