BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - An Alabama man who shot and killed 10 people, including his mother, wrote a letter explaining how he killed her and saying he would take his own life, authorities said on Thursday.
Michael McLendon killed his mother, grandmother, uncle, two cousins and five others, including an 18-month-old girl, in a spree that ended when he shot himself dead after a shootout and car chase along a rural road on Tuesday.
Authorities trying to piece together why the 28-year-old committed the worst mass shooting in Alabama history found a list of people he bore grudges against and discovered additional evidence on Thursday that he was motivated at least in part by revenge against perceived slights and injustices.
“McLendon left a letter that is in the possession of investigators, describing how he killed his mother and his intentions of taking his own life,” said J. Christopher Murphy, director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety.
McLendon, who lived with his mother Lisa McLendon, killed her at home some time before setting out on the rampage. He also set her house on fire and shot family dogs.
“The letter describes how McLendon harbored ill feelings toward family members due to a family dispute,” Murphy told a news conference in the state capital, Montgomery.
The letter also detailed a dispute with his family over a Bible, Murphy said.
McLendon was a self-proclaimed survivalist who bought ammunition the day before the killings, Murphy said. At his house, detectives also found a supply of batteries, water, a bullet-proof vest and other equipment.
“He was a very unhappy man. He had been booted out of law enforcement. He had been bumped out of the Marines. He had just quit his job. He felt his life was a failure,” said Gary McAliley, the district attorney in Coffee County, where the killings began.
McLendon was armed with two military assault rifles, a handgun and a shotgun. More than 125 rounds were fired in the rampage, which started at a home in Kinston in southeastern Alabama.
Aside from family members, McLendon killed the wife of a local deputy sheriff and her 18-month-old daughter, who were visiting one of McLendon’s relatives.
The woman’s four-month-old baby was wounded along with five others. Three people, including a motorist at a gas station, were killed as McLendon drove through the nearby town of Samson and randomly shot people.
Writing by Matthew Bigg
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