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Man shoots 4 relatives, then himself in Ala.

The remains of Kevin and Tammy Garner's home and a burnt vehicle yesterday in Priceville, Ala. The remains of Kevin and Tammy Garner's home and a burnt vehicle yesterday in Priceville, Ala. (Brennen Smith/The Decatur Daily via associated press)
By Jay Reeves
Associated Press / April 8, 2009
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PRICEVILLE, Ala. - A man shot and killed his estranged wife, their teenage daughter, and two other relatives in rural north Alabama before returning to his home in a nearby town and killing himself the day before his divorce trial, authorities said yesterday.

Travis Clemmons, chief investigator for the Lauderdale County sheriff's office, said Kevin Garner's body was found yesterday afternoon near his home in Priceville, which burned to the ground overnight.

He said Garner apparently shot himself in the chest.

Earlier in the day, authorities had found the other four bodies in a home in Green Hill, a small community near the Tennessee line in a nearby county. Those bodies were identified as Garner's estranged wife, Tammy, 40; their 16-year-old daughter, Chelsie; and Garner's sister and the sister's 11-year-old son, Clemmons said. He identified the sister as Karen Beaty of Illinois but did not have other information about her and the slain boy.

He said the four were shot, apparently with a handgun. Investigators said the killings happened around midnight Monday.

It was one of eight mass shootings around the country in the last month that have left grief-stricken communities in shock. It's also the third mass killing in Alabama during that time.

Clemmons said a neighbor came to visit the house yesterday morning but called authorities after seeing a body through glass in the door.

Clemmons said the divorce case appeared to be among the triggers of the violence.

"It wasn't just one particular thing, just everything happening at once," he said.

"I just can't understand it," said Clemmons, "and with a 16-year-old and an 11-year-old kid, there's nothing rational about it."