US shootings suspect commits suicide: Police

US shootings suspect commits suicide: Police

The standoff ended when he killed himself with a gunshot to the head yesterday, authorities said.

The hostages were released unharmed.

Authorities did not have a motive for the suspect, 34-year-old Rodrick Shonte Dantzler. Police said Dantzler's daughter and an ex-girlfriend were among the seven people killed, but that it had been some time since he had any sort of relationship with his ex-girlfriend.

The manhunt for Dantzler began after four people were found dead in one home and three were discovered in another across town. Two of the dead were children.

"We believe there were prior relationships with at least one person at each location, so we think there were some difficulties there," Police Chief Kevin Belk said.

Following the discovery of the bodies, Dantzler led officers on a chase, crashed his car and then took the hostages, police said.

Dozens of officers with guns drawn cordoned off a neighbourhood near a small lake and shut down a nearby interstate highway.

Records show Dantzler was released from state prison in 2005 after serving time for assault less than murder. A spokesman for the prison system said he had not been under state supervision since then.

At one point during the chase, the suspect crossed a wide grassy median on the highway and drove the wrong way down while more than a dozen squad cars pursued him. Belk said he crashed the vehicle while driving down an embankment into a wooded area of the highway, which remained closed hours later.

Two other people were shot when the suspect fired at police during the chase, but their wounds were not considered life-threatening. One man was wounded in what Belk described as a "road rage" attack after the suspect fired through the rear window of the vehicle. A woman was hit in the arm in a separate shooting.

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