Ohio authorities seek leads in slayings of 8 in family

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader addresses the media, hesitating briefly before saying that his county is small and he knows the family, at a press conference in Piketon, Ohio, on Friday, April 22, 2016. Reader stated that multiple victims were killed in an execution style shooting and that the shooter is still at large. (Sam Greene/The Cincinnati Equirer via AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Authorities are scrambling to determine who killed eight family members in a “pre-planned execution” that has shaken residents of their rural southern Ohio community.

Attorney General Mike DeWine Sunday described the killings at four homes near the small community of Piketon Friday as “a sophisticated operation.” Seven adults and one teenage boy were found shot in the head; three young children were not harmed.

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader says it’s clear the family was targeted, and he’s told the victims’ relatives to arm themselves.

Authorities have refused to discuss many details of the crime, a potential motive, weapons, or the search for the assailant or assailants. They say they found marijuana operations at three of the crime scenes, but didn’t say if the deaths were linked to pot.

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