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Killing Spree Victims Identified As Suspect's Wife, Family Members; Police Say Crimes Began In Huntsville

By William T. Martin

The killing spree that took the lives of six people in Alabama and Tennessee apparently began in Huntsville, police said Sunday.
HPD spokesman Sgt. Mark Roberts told HNW that Sidney Wade Dempsey, 50, was found at Hall Marble Co., Saturday morning and was killed before the other victims. Roberts added Dempsey died of “blunt force trauma.”
Roberts also confirmed reports Dempsey worked at Hall Marble and was an acquaintance of the suspect.
Meanwhile the other five victims have been identified by Tennessee authorities as the suspected killer’s wife and family.
According to a release from TBI spokesperson Kristin Helm, the victims included Traci Shaffer, 38; her son, Devin Brooks, 16; Traci’s brother Chris Hall, 34; Traci’s father Billy Hall, 57; and their neighbor Robert Berber, 16.
Traci Shaffer’s husband, Jacob Levi Shaffer, 30, remains in the Lincoln County Jail without bond facing five counts of criminal homicide. He has reportedly confessed to the crimes.
Ms. Shaffer, Brooks, and Berber were found inside a home at 34B South Lincoln Road while the Halls were found in a home across the street at 31 South Lincoln Road.
Police say the killings happened either late Friday or early Saturday morning and that Jacob Shaffer was sitting on the porch of one of the houses where the crimes took place when deputies arrived.
Investigators have remained tight-lipped about the motive for the killings, saying only that it was “domestic.”
Autopsies were underway Sunday and the TBI said the results would be released by the medical examiner’s office. The release did not say where the autopsies were being done or which pathologist would release the information.

Suspect Charged With Killing 5; Police Say Motive Was "Domestic"

By William T. Martin

A Tennessee man has been formally charged with the deaths of five people, including two juveniles, during a two-state killing spree that included a sixth victim found in Huntsville.
According to a TBI press release, Jacob Shaffer, 30, of 342 South Lincoln Road was charged late Saturday night with five counts of criminal homicide.
Shaffer was taken into custody Saturday morning by deputies responding to the scene of the crimes.
A TBI spokesperson said Shaffer was found sitting on the porch of one of the homes where the killings took place.
Shaffer has reportedly confessed to the crimes.
Police said the killings took place at two homes located at 33 South Lincoln Road and 34B South Lincoln Road.
Police said three victims were found inside the first home and two in the second. Both of the homes are located in southern Lincoln County just above the Alabama state line.
Police said Shaffer told them that a sixth victim was located in Huntsville and gave specific information about that killing.
Huntsville police responded to Hall Cultured Marble and Granite, located at 1112 Orchard Street, where they found the body of a male.
No charges have been filed in that case.
Investigators are still working to identify all the victims and will not release their names until the ID’s are confirmed and next of kin notified.
Authorities have said little about the motive for the crimes, other than it was “domestic.”
The official causes of death have not yet been released although reports indicated the victims were shot.
Shaffer was being held in the Lincoln County Jail in Fayetteville without bond.

Click below to read the TBI press release:

UPDATE: Suspect Named As Police Continue Investigation Into Two-State Killing Spree

By William T. Martin

A Huntsville man is in custody in connection with a two-state killing spree that left six people dead in Huntsville and Lincoln County, Tennessee.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Kristin Helm confirmed to HNW Saturday evening that Jacob Shaffer, 30, was being held in Lincoln County.
Helm also confirmed in an email that Shaffer was sitting on the porch of one of the homes where the killings took place when deputies arrived.
Police were first called to a residence on South Lincoln Road around 10 a.m. Saturday morning where they found five bodies at three separate crime scenes.
Shaffer was taken into custody at that time and told Tennessee authorities that another body was in Huntsville.
Acting on that information, Huntsville police searched Hall Marble and Granite on Orchard Street and located the body of a male.
Investigators from the HPD Major Crimes Unit told reporters that the scene was connected to the killings in Tennessee and that a suspect there had confessed to his involvement in all the crimes.
Police held a press conference late in the afternoon near the scene of the Tennessee crimes but released little additional information.
The names of the victims and the causes of their deaths have not been officially released.

Here is the text of a release sent to HNW Saturday evening by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office:

At about 10:00 a.m. this morning, officers were dispatched to an address on South Lincoln Road in Lincoln County, TN.
After officers arrived, it was determined that we had three different crime scenes in Lincoln County. We later determined another crime scene in Huntsville, AL.
At this time, we do know there are five victims in Lincoln County and one in Huntsville. The identity of the victims has not been determined.
On the scene, we have Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation/Mobile Crime Lab, Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Huntsville Police Department, and District Attorney Crawford. We have taken one into custody believed to be responsible for this horrendous crime.

UPDATE: Police Find Body in Huntsville, Confirm Discovery Is Related To 5 Killings In Southern Tennessee

By William T. Martin

Police found a body in a business in north Huntsville Saturday morning and have confirmed that the death is related to five killings that happened in Lincoln County, Tennessee.
The body of an unidentified man was found at Hall Cultured Marble and Granite at 1112 Orchard Street near Oakwood Avenue after local authorities were notified by police in Fayetteville Saturday morning that a homicide might have happened there.
According to HPD Major Crimes Sgt. Jim Allen and Sgt. Mark Roberts, police in Lincoln County discovered five bodies there either late Friday or early Saturday and took a suspect into custody a short time later.
During questioning the suspect told investigators a body was in Huntsville and where it could be found.
“He apparently did an interview (in Tennessee)…and confessed to committing a homicide (in Huntsville) and they called us up and it led officers here,” said Allen.
Police did not comment on how the Huntsville victim died. A person answering the phone at the LCSO declined comment, saying all their investigators were at the scene and would be for several hours.

Wil Elrick of FOX54 News contributed to this report.

BREAKING: HPD At Scene Of Possible Homicide On Orchard Street; May Be Linked To 5 Killings In Lincoln County, Tenn.

By William T. Martin

Huntsville police are at the scene of a possible homicide on Orchard Avenue and the crime may be related to the discovery of five bodies in Lincoln County, Tennessee.
HPD spokesman Sgt. Mark Roberts told HNW that local officers were notified around 11 a.m. that a body may be inside a business located on Orchard Avenue near Oakwood east of North Memorial Parkway.
As of noon officers were at the scene but had not confirmed if a body was there.
Roberts said that his agency was contacted by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department in Fayetteville, who told them about the potential body and that it was possibly related to the discovery of five bodies in their jurisdiction.
A person answering the phone at the LCSO said they could not comment as investigators were still at the scene and would probably be there for several hours.
Lincoln County is just across the state line from Madison County with Fayetteville being around 40 miles north of Huntsville.
HNW will provide more information as it becomes available.

Huntsville Police Arrest Shooting Suspect

(From release) On Friday officers of the Huntsville Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested Rolando Mota Ocampo, 28 years of age, of Huntsville and charged him with Attempted Murder. Rolando Ocampo was arrested as a result of the on-going investigation into the shooting of Ramon Garcia on July 11 that occurred at his residence at 3900 Rucker Circle.
Ocampo is currently being held in the Metro Jail with a $60,000 bond.

Madison PD: "Suspicious" Pair Were Legitimate Salespersons

(From release) Madison Police Investigators have just identified two persons involved in separate incidents from earlier in the week and confirmed that they are legitimate employees of a nationally recognized alarm company engaged in what is categorized as “cold sells” techniques.
The driver of the Jeep was training a new salesperson and the suspicious sounding questions were merely the new salesperson’s attempts to make conversation. Both have been reminded to carry and produce company credentials upon demand.
We apologize for any undue case for concern created by the earlier news release, however it is the policy of the Madison Police Department to take all such reported suspicious matters seriously and err on the side of caution rather than allow possible criminal activity to go unchecked.

Click below to see what all the concern was about:

Library ‘Food for Fines’ Program Returns For Summer

(From release) The Huntsville-Madison County Public Library held a very successful ‘Food for Fines’ campaign this past December. We are all aware of the slogan “hunger knows no season,” so this summer the HMCPL will again offer its patrons a way to take care of their overdue fines while taking care of their community. Beginning Sunday, July 19 through Saturday, July 25, all HMCPL branches will offer Food for Fines. For each non-perishable food item a patron brings in, the library will forgive $1 in overdue fines from their library card.

Congressman Griffith Responds To Boeing's Huntsville Job Eliminations

At the request of HNW, U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Huntsville) issued the following response to the news that Boeing was eliminating 130 jobs in the Huntsville-Madison County area:
“The news of these cuts are unfortunate, but certainly not unexpected. I am working with my colleagues in the Alabama delegation both in the House and Senate to make sure these jobs are recovered and further job loss is prevented in the Tennessee Valley.”

Griffith Asks NASA Head to Appoint Lightfoot

(From release) Congressman Parker Griffith delivered a letter to newly confirmed NASA Administrator General Charles Bolden asking him to make Robert Lightfoot the permanent director of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. Lightfoot was named interim director of Marshall after David A. King stepped down from the position in March.

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