All of those killed by the gunman, identified as Joseph Aldridge, 36, lived within a few miles of each other in the tiny community of Tyrone, an unincorporated area with a population of about 50, authorities said.     
Authorities said the motive was unclear and declined to comment on whether the murders had been triggered by the death of Aldridge's mother, who was found at her home. Authorities said she may have died from natural causes.
"It's heartbreaking," said Todd Haley, senior pastor at Ozark Baptist Church, about three miles from Tyrone. "Anytime you see families that go to this level of violence, it's a shame."
The events, which police said were spread over six crime scenes, began unfolding around 10 p.m. on Thursday when a girl called 911 from a neighbor's home.
A man who declined to be identified said that a teenaged girl in a nightgown came to his house, running barefoot through a snowy wooded area and crying that her parents had been shot. They called police and law enforcement officials found her parents dead at their home.
Authorities said they later discovered five other people dead and a wounded woman in three other houses. The woman, who is expected to recover, gave them information about the shooter, Texas County Sheriff James Sigman said.
Four of the victims were identified as Garold Aldridge, 52, his wife Julie Aldridge, 47, Harold Aldridge, 50, and his wife Janell Aldridge, 48.
Authorities would not identify the other victims, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that they were Carey Shriver and his wife Valirea Shriver, and Carey's father Darrell Shriver. Darrell's wife Martha was wounded but survived, the paper said.
The Shrivers are members of a prominent family that has lived in the area for generations and operates several businesses, including a cabinet making shop, a cattle ranch and an auto dealership.
There was no sign of forced entry in any of the houses, Sigman said, adding that the killings had shattered a sense of safety in the town. "Start locking your doors. The world is changing. You got to be safe," he said.        

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