Family of 5 shot to death in small Illinois town

December 16, 2011 - 8:35 PM

EMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A family of five, including a baby and two other children, was found shot to death in the small eastern Illinois farming town of Emington, a county official said Friday.

Livingston County board member Bob Young, who lives in Emington, said the dead included a man, a woman, an infant, a first grader and a fourth grader. The family had moved to the town about 80 miles southwest of Chicago within the last six months and the two older children attend school in nearby Saunemin, Young said. The street where the family lived was closed by police, he said.

"We did have an awful disaster here," said Emington Mayor Daniel Delaney, who's been in office for 24 years. "You never would have thought it would happen in our town of 100 people or less. It's very sad. There were helicopters flying over earlier. Right now it's just very, very, very sad for us here."

Additional details about the shooting were not immediately available.

Residents described Emington as a once strictly farming town that has gone through changes in the last 20 years as young families moved in. Delaney said the town used to have a population of about 117 but now is closer to 100. Young said the town has become more of a bedroom community from which people commute north to cities such as Joliet, about 45 miles away.

Delaney said the town is not prosperous and has received help from the state. "It's always really had a hard time. Most of the people are retired or farmers who moved into town," he said.

Young said he did not know the family well.

"We've seen the kids playing at the playground and talk to them," Young said. "We thought everything was fine."