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Murder victims in Morgan County identified

Photo: Morgan County Sheriffs Office

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Department identified six of the seven people who were found shot to death in a burning home in rural Morgan County late Thursday night. Six of the victims were adults and the seventh is a 17-year-old girl.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office released a statement Friday afternoon with the identities of six of the seven dead.

They are:

  • A white female, Tammy England Muzzey, age 45, of Valhermoso Springs
  • A white female, Emily Brooke Payne, age 21, of Valhermoso Springs
  • A black male, Roger Lee Jones Jr., age 19, of Decatur
  • A white Female, whose name has not been released because she is a juvenile, age 17
  • A white male, Jeramy Wade Roberts, age 31, of Athens
  • A white male, William Zane Hodgin, age 18, of Somerville
  • A seventh victim, a black male, is still unidentified.

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, authorities said that they do not have any suspects in custody but do not believe that there is a larger threat to the community.

The victims were shot multiple times. A dog was also shot to death at the scene.

Late Thursday night, two neighbors called 911 to report gunshots. At approximately 11:23 p.m., deputies arrived at the home on the 500 block of Talacuh Road in Valhermoso Springs and found part of the home on fire.

A closer investigation revealed the bodies. Deputies put the fire out before the fire department arrived.

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“It is a horrific scene and to be able to process it will take some time,” MCSO’s public information officer Mike Swafford told reporters. “We don’t have a motive at this time. We don’t have a determined suspect at this time. Investigators are following leads to piece together exactly what happened and who was involved. We can say we don’t believe there is an active threat to anybody in the area.”

The home was reportedly known as being a hotspot for drug abuse.

“This was not a just happened upon and this little thing happened,” Swafford said. “This is a big scene. It is horrific in scope, from the district attorney to the sheriff to the coroner, no one can remember anything like this in Morgan County.”

Authorities say they believe the shooter or shooters arrived at the residence with the intention of killing everyone inside.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department, the Somerville Police Department, and the FBI violent crime task force are assisting with the investigation,.

This is believed to be the deadliest mass shooting in Alabama since 11 were killed in Samson in 2009.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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