BROOKHAVEN, Miss.: A man who got into an argument with his estranged wife and her family over his children was arrested Sunday in a house-to-house shooting rampage in rural Mississippi that left eight people dead, including his mother-in-law and a sheriff’s deputy.
“I ain’t fit to live, not after what I done,” a handcuffed Willie Corey Godbolt, 35, told the Clarion-Ledger.
The gunfire erupted Saturday night at Godbolt’s in-laws’ home in Bogue Chitto after the deputy arrived in response to a domestic disturbance call, and spread to two houses in nearby Brookhaven.
Godbolt was hospitalized in good condition with a gunshot wound, though it wasn’t clear who shot him.
The slain deputy, William Durr, was a two-year sheriff’s department veteran and former police officer in Brookhaven, about 70 miles south of Jackson.
Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said prosecutors plan to charge Godbolt with murder, but it’s too soon to say what the motive was. Authorities gave no details on his relationship to the victims, but a member of Godbolt’s church said everyone but the deputy was related to Godbolt by blood or marriage.
Godbolt himself shed some light on what happened, in an interview he gave to the newspaper as he sat with his hands cuffed behind his back on the side of a road.
“I was having a conversation with her stepdaddy and her mama and her, my wife, about me taking my children home,” he said. “Somebody called the officer, people that didn’t even live at the house. That’s what they do. They intervene.
“They cost him his life,” he said, apparently referring to Durr. “I’m sorry.”
Godbolt’s stepfather-in-law, Vincent Mitchell, told the Associated Press that Godbolt’s wife and their two children had been staying at his Bogue Chitto home for about three weeks after she left her husband because of domestic violence.
“He’d come to get his kids. The deputy was called,” Mitchell said.
The deputy asked Godbolt to leave, and at first, it seemed like Godbolt would comply, he said.
“He acted like, motioned like, he was fixing to go. Then he reached in his back pocket and grabbed a gun,” Mitchell said.
“He just started shooting everything.”