Man arrested in fatal shootings of 3 in small Illinois town

CULLOM, Ill. (AP) — A man has been arrested in connection with the Christmas Day shootings of three people in a small eastern Illinois community, authorities said Wednesday.

The suspect, 53, was arrested Wednesday and jailed on three counts of first-degree murder, state police said Thursday. A court hearing was expected Friday.

The bodies of a 51-year-old man, 48-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man were found at a home early Wednesday morning in Cullom.

Dispatchers received a call about the shootings shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday. The names of the victims, their relationships to the suspect and a motive behind the shootings were not immediately released by authorities.

The town is about 95 miles (153 kilometers) southwest of Chicago and has about 550 residents.

“We’re a small community. We’re a quiet community. We don’t have things like this happen,” Mayor Barbara Hahn told The Pantagraph for a story Thursday. “That’s the tragedy of it. We all know each other.”

On Wednesday, Hahn alerted residents about the shootings over Twitter.

“I generally don't do this,” she wrote. “However, a terrible (incident) took place in our little town on this Christmas ... our first responders and families involved sure could use some prayers of comfort. God knows who needs the help. It can happen anywhere.”