DEVELOPING: A Mississippi deputy sheriff was among eight people shot and killed Saturday and a suspect in the murders is in custody, The Daily Leader reports.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said the shootings occurred at three separate homes Saturday night in rural Lincoln County. Two of the homes are in Brookhaven and one is in Bogue Chitto. The area is about 68 miles south of Jackson, the capital.

Strain said investigators were gathering evidence at all three locations.

Strain said charges have not yet been filed against the suspect and that it would be "premature" to discuss a motive.

It was not clear whether the suspect knew his victims before allegedly killing them.

None of the victims were identified.

The suspect, Willie Cory Godbolt, was taken into custody Sunday morning following the shootings. Authorities say he held a 16-year-old boy hostage. The teen was freed was unharmed.

Godbolt, 35, has a long criminal record, including:

  • Charged with armed robbery and aggravated assault in 2005 after he allegedly struck a man with a pistol and took his cash and jewelry;
  • In 2013, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office charged him with simple assault;
  • Arrested in 2015 for disorderly conduct/breach of peace and failure to comply with a request from a sheriff;
  • Arrested in 2015 for speeding, driving with a suspended license, and no proof of liability insurance by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

In 2016, Godbolt filed an appeal to a judgment against him in a simple assault and disorderly conduct case.

Gov. Phil Bryant issued a statement asking state residents to pray for the victims. He also noted the "sacrifice" made by law enforcement officers to protect and serve their communities.

"Every day, the men and women who wear the badge make some measure of sacrifice to protect and serve their communities. Too often, we lose one of our finest. I thank the law enforcement agencies involved for their hard work," Bryant said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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