A pair of young residents of Willard, Missouri were killed in a shooting on Saturday morning, according to local authorities. Willard Police Chief Tom McClain held a press conference on Monday regarding the shooting, stating that authorities believe the couple was targeted by an assailant who is still at large. It is unclear, at the time of this writing, who killed the couple, or why.
During the press conference, authorities expressed that they don’t believe Alex Chute, 28, and Brianna Sproul, 30, were killed in a murder-suicide, as some in the community had speculated. Instead, they believe both were murdered by a suspect who is still on the loose. The couple, who lived in Willard, Missouri, are believed to have been explicitly targeted by this suspect.
The police were called out to the couple’s home on Saturday and were met with a grisly scene. Chute and Sproul were both dead before authorities arrived, killed by gunshots on their front porch. McClain declined to comment on a possible motive in the case, stating that the investigation is ongoing.
“While I am not willing to talk about particular suspects or motives or things of that nature, we are, as I said earlier, confident that we are on the right track,” McClain told reporters during the press conference. McClain went on to note that he felt confident that the police department would be able to ascertain what happened to the couple in short order.
While police would not comment on the motives behind the killing, or potential suspects, some internet sleuths have noted that Alex Chute filed for divorce from his first wife roughly two years ago. Chute and his ex-wife were embroiled in a custody suit over the child they had together. This information has led some online to speculate that the custody battle could have played a role in the slaying of the couple.
However, police have made no public statement regarding the suspects or motives in the case. At the time of this writing, there is no evidence that Chute’s divorce was to blame for the violence. That being said, it’s the strongest lead that onlookers have found in the otherwise baffling incident of violent crime.
The victims’ families have set up a GoFundMe to help pay for expenses including memorial services. Anyone with information related to the case is encouraged to contact the Willard police department, who can be reached at (417) 742-5341.