BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — A man shot the owners of a house where he was living and their children Friday, killing the father and a 9-year-old daughter, and critically wounding the mother and two other children, police said.
The mother and two children, covered in blood, crossed a usually busy two-lane highway just after midnight to plead for help from neighbors who were awakened by a desperate pounding on their doors. One of the neighbors called 911.
"It was like out of a horror movie," said Donna Davis, 39. "I still see that little girl's face in my mind."
Police said Jermaine Sims, 31, and the 9-year-old daughter died later Friday morning. His 29-year-old wife, Victoria, and their 6-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter survived but were in critical condition, Capt. Clint Earls said. Police did not release the children's names.
Jimmy Lyons, 32, lived in the Sims' home and is accused of shooting the family, Earls said. He said Jermaine Sims and Lyons had argued, but he did not know what the argument was about.
Earls said there don't appear to have been any other witnesses.
"The only thing we are waiting on is getting some of the victims in well-enough health to where they can shed some light on what caused the incident to erupt," Earls said.
Earls said Lyons faces two counts of murder and three of aggravated assault. He was in the Lincoln County jail. It was not known if he had an attorney.
The shootings took place in an area about a mile south of downtown Brookhaven: inside city limits but rural in nature, where large yards are studded with pine trees.
Donna and John Davis and their 10-year-old daughter, Heaven, live in a white-and-beige trailer home across the highway and about 100 yards away from the Sims' brown, wood-frame home. John Davis' mother, Linda Davis, lives next door in a small cream-colored house.
Police said a call about 12:20 a.m. brought them to the Davises' homes, where they found Victoria Sims and two children outside, wounded. Inside the Sims' home they found Lyons, who was not injured, and Jermaine Sims and the 9-year-old.
The Davises said they often saw the children getting on and off the school bus or riding bicycles in the yard, but did not know their neighbors.
Donna Davis said that when she answered her door, someone kept saying, "We've been hit." There was so much blood, she said, that she thought they had been hit by a car.
"The little boy, he was half under the porch like he was trying to hide from someone. He was screaming for help," she said, pointing to the rickety-looking wooden steps leading to the trailer door.
At one point, Linda Davis said, he reached up to his face and said, "Oh, half my ear is gone."
John Davis said the boy's wounds included cuts on his face, as if he'd been attacked with a knife.
Donna Davis said that, while they waited for an ambulance, she hugged the girl to keep her warm.
"She kept saying, 'I want my mama,'" Donna Davis said.
Associated Press Writer Bill Fuller contributed to this report.