Hell came to Samson Tuesday in the form of a deranged gunman whose killing spree left 10 victims dead before he turned a gun on himself.
The gunman, identified by eyewitnesses and a former high school classmate as Michael McLendon, 27, began his mad, violent rampage in Kinston, where one victim was found dead in a burned house, according to authorities.
McLendon then went to Samson where he rampaged through a neighborhood, killing four adults and a 1-year-old child at one residence, and two other people at nearby homes. A 3-month-old infant was also injured in the shootings.
He then went on a random shooting spree through Samson, shooting and killing a woman at a Big Little store on State Highway 52 and another victim at Samson Pipe and Supply.
McLendon also opened fire on Bradley TrueValue Hardware store. Luckily, no one was injured.
“We were just business as normal and all of a sudden there were bullets flying and glass was everywhere,” owner David Bradley said. “We realized what it was and grabbed our guns but then he was gone.”
After McLendon left Samson he fled to Geneva, where he encountered law enforcement officers. Geneva County deputies rammed the suspect’s Mitsubishi Eclipse in front of Alabama Title Loans on State Highway 52, near Wal-Mart.
Gunfire was exchanged and Geneva Police Chief Frankie Lindsey was shot in the shoulder, though his wound was not serious. A chase then continued to Reliable Products where McLendon took his own life.
The children and one of the adults were the family of a Geneva County Sheriff’s Office deputy. The deputy was one of the officers who pursued McLendon to Reliable.
“This is probably the worst thing that’s happened in my career,” Sheriff Greg Ward said. “...While the shootout was going on at Reliable, he had no idea what had happened to his family.”
To continue reading this article and to watch a video from the mayor of Geneva, go to this page on DothanEagle.com.
Here's CNN's Anderson Cooper talking with Alabama State Troopers about the tragedy: