Gunman shoots 11 dead in random killing spree

Detectives were yesterday trying to piece together what led Michael McLendon to kill 11 people in Alabama on Tuesday.

McLendon killed his mother at the home they shared in Kinston, then shot her four dogs in the head, piled their bodies on a sofa, doused the building in petrol, lit a match, and drove off. Ninety minutes later, after leading police on a dramatic chase across two counties, in which he mowed down a further 10 people, including four more relatives and the wife and child of a local sheriff's deputy, the 27-year-old former metal worker ended the killing spree by turning the weapons on himself. It is one of the worst mass shootings in recent US history.

Three of the victims were gunned down as McLendon drove around the town of Sampson shooting at random from the window of his car. County coroner Robert Preachers said: "He cleaned his family out. We don't know what triggered it. He was a nice quiet kid, no trouble."