Update 2: Matt Williamson has more…“Family in shock”
Update 1: EJ’s John Surratt connects the dots in Thursday’s edition…..
A recent divorce became public and violent Wednesday morning inside Regions Bank in downtown McComb, leaving four people dead, including the bank’s manager and a customer who tried to intervene.
Police said Robert Lanham Jr., 35, entered the Main Street office of Regions Bank late Wednesday morning and shot two people before kidnapping his ex-wife and driving away.
Lanham allegedly shot bank manager Ronnie Larrimore, 38, and customer James Frederick “Jimmy” Fayard, 53, inside the bank with a 9mm handgun before chasing down his ex-wife, Rachel J. Lanham, 36, catching her in the bank’s back parking lot, forcing her into his pickup and driving away.
Rachel Lanham was killed when she was thrown from the truck after it struck a tree on Highway 51 in Fernwood, south of McComb.
Lanham then drove to Magnolia, where authorities said he shot himself in the head while driving, lost control of his Chevrolet pickup and crashed, with his truck coming to a rest in a ditch off South Prewett Street in Magnolia.
Larrimore and Fayard were pronounced dead inside the bank.
Rachel Lanham was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident in Fernwood.
Robert Lanham Jr. was pronounced dead on arrival at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center.
Autopsies have been ordered.
[...]The tragedy began just after 11 a.m. Wednesday, when Robert Lanham Jr. entered the bank, where his ex-wife works as an investment officer for the investment firm Morgan Keegan, which has an office in the bank.Hughes said Lanham entered through the back of the building, asked a secretary if Larrimore was in, went into Larrimore’s office and shot and killed him in his office chair.Lanham then went through the bank to his ex-wife’s office, where she was with Fayard, Hughes said.
Hughes said Fayard attempted to stop the gunman, enabling the ex-wife to momentarily escape.
The resulting struggle damaged the blinds and broke a window pane in the office.
“He (Lanham) tried to pull her out of her office,” Hughes said. “That’s when the customer tried to intervene and protect her, and that’s when he got shot.”
Lanham caught up with his ex-wife in the back parking lot and drove off with her.
“It was a contentious divorce,” McComb Police Chief Billie Hughes said concerning a possible motive for the shootings.
“You have a contentious divorce, people arguing over property … emotions build up and take over and someone does something that they wouldn’t normally do.”
Shirley Guy, who was with a bank officer inside the building during the shooting, said she heard the shots.
“At first, I didn’t think it was gunshots,” she said. “It sounded like fireworks or someone hitting something with a hammer.”
She said she made a comment about the noise to the bank officer, who suddenly ducked under a desk.
“I ducked down, too,” she said. “Then I heard a lot of confusion and screaming and begging, then I saw a woman running toward the back of the building.”
After catching his ex-wife, in the parking lot, Lanham drove out of town, heading south on Highway 51, veering off the highway south of Fernwood Grocery and striking two cedar trees.
Rachel Lanham was thrown from the truck during the accident, dying from her injuries there.
Initial reports said she had been shot, but officials have not verified that.
“The accident happened in the front yard of a house,” Pike County Sheriff Mark Shepherd said, adding that Lanham then drove off toward Magnolia.
He said that sometime before shooting himself, Lanham called and left a message on his stepfather’s telephone in Ohio.
The stepfather, he said, contacted authorities about the call. Shepherd declined to describe the contents of the message.
I was in the bank this morning. This hits way too close to home. From the Enterprise Journal ….
Three people were killed late this morning after an apparent domestic dispute that began at Regions Bank in downtown McComb, and the suspected shooter died at the hospital, police said.
“It wasn’t a bank robbery. It was a domestic situation,” Police Chief Billie Hughes said.
Hughes said an armed man he identified as Robert Lanham Jr. walked inside the bank on Main Street, fatally shot bank customer James Frederick Fayard, 53, of McComb, bank manager Ronnie Larrimore, 38, of Tylertown.
The gunman then left with his ex-wife, Rachel J. Lanham, who worked at the bank, as a hostage.
“The guy’s ex-wife worked at the bank. They were divorced,” Hughes said. “He came in the bank, and so far there is a bank customer that has been shot and killed. There has been a bank employee that has been shot and killed.”
Authorities found Rachel Lanham’s body along Highway 51 near Fernwood a short time later, though Hughes said it remained unclear how she died.
Robert Lanham Jr. apparently shot himself while driving in Magnolia, and lawmen found him in a vehicle on Prewett Street.
He was taken to Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, where Pike County Coroner Percy Pittman said Lanham died.
My neighbor was telling me the skinny about all this, just a little while ago. He’s the pastor of the church the Lanham’s attended before their divorce. “You know, these days you don’t just have to look out for the criminals that came up here after Katrina, you’ve got to be aware of crazy people too. The customer in that bank could have been me or you,” he said.
Dang. Ain’t it the truth.
Filed under: Mississippi Tagged: | Enterprise Journal, Fernwood, James Fayard, Mark Shepherd, McComb, Mississippi, Percy Pittman, Rachel Lanham, Robert Lanham, Ronnie Larrimore, Shirley Guy, Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center