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2 Killed by Arkansas Man; 5 Bodies Found at His Home

December 29, 1987|Associated Press

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — A man wielding two revolvers killed two people, wounded four and briefly took a hostage before surrendering Monday, and officers later found five more bodies at his house, authorities said.

At least six other relatives were unaccounted for after the bodies in the house were tentatively identified, and were feared dead, authorities said.

R. Gene Simmons Sr., 47, of Dover, seven miles north of Russellville, surrendered to Police Chief Herb Johnston here at the offices of a trucking company where he had once worked, police said.

Before the five bodies were found, Johnston had said that Simmons would be charged with two counts of capital murder and four counts of attempted capital murder. A bond hearing was set for today. Simmons has not yet been charged in the deaths at the house.

Pope County Sheriff Jim Bolin said the victims found at the house were tentatively identified as members of Simmons' family--a son and daughter and their respective spouses and a grandchild. The four adults had been shot in the head, Deputy Coroner Bill Payton said. Bolin said the child may have been suffocated, but an autopsy would be needed to find out. He said he feared the missing family members were dead.

Police said a man carrying short-barreled and long-barreled handguns opened fire at the office of attorney Richard Peel, killing secretary Kathy Kendrick, 24.

J. D. Chaffin, 33, was killed and another person wounded at Taylor Oil Co.; two people were wounded at Sinclair Mini-Mart, a convenience store on the city's east side; and one was wounded at Woodline Motor Freight, Johnston said.

The gunman barricaded himself in a computer room at Woodline and briefly held an unidentified person hostage before police entered the building. He later was persuaded to hand over the .22-caliber guns and surrender.

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