Six of the seven victims who were shot and killed before someone attempted to set the home where they were murdered on fire, have now been identified, according to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department.
Here are names for the five victims that the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office has released:
William Zane Hodgin, 18, of Somerville
Roger Lee Jones Jr., 19, of Decatur
Tammy England Muzzey, 45, of Valhermoso Springs
Emily Brooke Payne, 21, of Valhermoso Springs
Jeramy Wade Roberts, 31, of Athens
A 17-year-old white female has been identified, but her name has not been released. The seventh victim, a male, has yet to be identified, authorities said. USA Today reported that Coroner Jeff Chunn said names of the other victims will be released after the next of kin have been notified.
The home is located in Valhermoso Springs, a community in north-central Alabama.
Neighbors Heard Gunshots Around 11:30 p.m. June 4, Authorities Say
According to local TV station WAAY-31, Morgan County 911 Director Jeanie Pharis said that two different neighbors called 911 late in the evening of June 4, and told the dispatcher that they had heard intermittent gunshots going on in a home for an hour.
Local TV station WAFF-48 reported that when deputies arrived near the address on Talucah Road, the home where neighbors heard shots was on fire. Emergency crews put the fire out and found seven people in the home.
By 4:15 a.m., the county sheriff’s office and its crime scene units was being assisted by the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force (which is already part of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office), according to the sheriff’s Facebook update. Swafford said the Morgan office also called in Madison County sheriff’s crime scene unit, due to what WAFF-48 described as “an overwhelming scene.”
Swafford, WAFF-48 reported, said the number of shooters and suspects is unclear at the moment. Investigators, however, said they believe the killings were a “targeted attack” and not a domestic violence incident. Swafford told AL.com that police believe whoever the suspect or suspects were, they intended to shoot everyone in the home.
The makeup of the victims, according to AL.com, included two white males, two black males and three white females.
Early on, Swafford identified two victims — 31-year-old Roberts and 18-year-old Hodgin — during a press conference. He said the seven bodies deputies encountered were “far beyond” what law enforcement had ever dealt with, despite having recently dealt with a triple homicide in Decatur.
This doesn’t compare now. I know the officers from Decatur have been discussing that crime, a couple of weeks ago with the three homicide. I had to think back to 20-25 years to think of anything like it. This is far beyond that. I don’t know of any other crime that involved this many victims in Morgan County.
Swafford did offer some details, such as that a couple of the victims lived in the home, but others seemed to come and go and he also said that law enforcement had been present at the home on May 30 due for an attempt-to-locate call. He said that other information was being withheld, but that information indicated that the area was safe for residents.
There are pieces of evidence that we cannot share, things that lead us to believe something that we do not believe are appropriate to give out to the public yet … That has led us to believe that the people or persons involved in this are not in the area. Anytime something like this happens, it’s going to shake people. We’re still here, we’ll still be here.
The fire, which investigators believe was set to destroy evidence, was limited to a small area of the home, Swafford said.