President Joe Biden responded to a series of shootings in Tate County, Mississippi, which left at least six people dead on Friday, saying “thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
Officials apprehended the suspect, 52-year-old Richard Crum, who is believed to have used a shotgun and two handguns to carry out a shooting rampage that spanned three different locations. The suspect’s motives are still unknown, according to FOX 13 Memphis.
Nevertheless, the president demanded Congress take action.
“Enough,” Biden’s statement began. “We are 48 days into the year, and our nation has already suffered at least 73 mass shootings. Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.”
Biden added: “Gun violence is an epidemic and Congress must act now.”
Officials said the shootings started at a convenience store in Arkabutla around 11 a.m., when Crum allegedly killed a man in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck.
The victim was later identified as Chris Eugene Boyce, 59.
Boyce’s brother was in the truck with him at the time and fled. Crum chased him through nearby woods, but he escaped unharmed, Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance said.
A second shooting was reported at 800 Bend Road, a few miles away. Authorities arrived at the home and found Crum’s ex-wife shot dead and her current husband wounded.
A third shooting occurred at Crum’s own home, where Lance said deputies caught up with Crum and arrested him.
Behind the residence, they found two handymen slain by gunfire — one in the road, another in an SUV. Inside a neighboring home, the bodies of Crum’s stepfather and his stepfather’s sister were also found.
Crum was jailed without bond on a single charge of capital murder and will face additional charges, per FOX 13.
“Everybody has crime, and from time to time, we have violent crime, but certainly nothing of this magnitude,” Lance said in an interview. “Without being able to say what triggered this, that’s the scary part.”
Deputy Tate County Coroner Ernie Lentz identified the remaining victims as Debra Crum, 60; Charles Manuel, 76; John Rorie, 59; George McCain, 73; and Lynda McCain, 78.
Biden continued, “Jill and I are mourning for the six killed in today’s violence in Tate County, Mississippi — as we have for far too many Americans. We grieve with their families and with Americans nationwide as gun violence claims yet more lives. We are also praying for the recovery of those injured in this horrendous attack, and for survivors who will carry both grief and trauma with them for the rest of their lives.”
Biden also said he directed all federal resources be made available to assist the ongoing state and local investigation.
The president went on to demand “commonsense gun law reforms” that include “background checks on all gun sales” and several other initiatives, although these are unlikely to pass in a divided Congress.
“We need—need—commonsense gun law reforms,” Biden said. “That includes requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, fully closing the boyfriend loophole to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, requiring safe storage of guns, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”
He argued Congress could act on these “commonsense steps” right away to “save lives.”
Biden added: “We owe action to American communities being torn apart by gun violence.”
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said it is believed Crum acted alone.
“The individual responsible has been taken into custody alive. At this time, we believe he acted alone. His motive is not yet known,” Reeves wrote on Facebook. “I will ensure that the full resources of the state are available to law enforcement as we continue to investigate the situation.”
He added: “Please pray for the victims of this tragic violence and their families at this time.”
Arkabutla is home to approximately 285 people and is located about 30 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting state and local investigators.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.