A witness to a deadly shooting in Mississippi this weekend says he’s “devastated” after a domestic dispute between two parents escalated into a rampage that left eight dead.
“I’m devastated,” Vincent Mitchell told the Associated Press. “It don’t seem like it’s real.”
Mitchell spoke to the AP from his home in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi, which authorities say was the site of the first shootings. According to law enforcement, Willie Corey Godbolt opened fire at Mitchell’s residence after a sheriff’s deputy showed up to resolve a conflict Godbolt had with his estranged wife.
“Him and my stepdaughter, they’ve been going back and forth for a couple of years with that domestic violence,” Mitchell told the AP. Godbolt’s wife and their two children had been staying with Mitchell for a few weeks, he said, until Godbolt showed up just before midnight on Saturday to demand she hand over the kids.
When law enforcement arrived and asked Godbolt to leave, it appeared that he would, according to Mitchell.
“He acted like, motioned like, he was fixing to go. Then he reached in his back pocket and grabbed a gun,” Mitchell said. “He just started shooting everything.”
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William Durr, a Lincoln County, Mississippi, sheriff’s deputy, was killed in the gunfire as were three women, according to reports. Authorities said Godbolt allegedly fled the scene and continued his spree of violence, killing four other people — two boys and a man and a woman — at two other locations before his arrest early Sunday.
“My pain wasn’t designed for him. He was just there,” Godbolt told the Clarion-Ledger of the deputy after his arrest. “We was talking about me taking my children … somebody called the officer … that’s what they do, they intervene. It cost him his life. I’m sorry.”
Mitchell told the AP that he and Godbolt’s wife were able to escape the first shooting. But he said his wife, his wife’s sister and one of his wife’s daughters were killed.
The names of all eight of the victims have not been released, pending notification of their relatives, according to the Clarion-Ledger. A motive also remains unclear.
Godbolt has been charged with one count of capital murder and seven counts of first-degree murder, the Clarion-Ledger reports. It is unclear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney. He reportedly remained in custody as of Sunday. (A spokesman with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation did not immediately return messages seeking comment.)
Godbolt told the paper that he wanted police to kill him.
“Suicide by cop was my intention,” he said. “I ain’t fit to live. Not after what I’ve done.”