Police in central China captured Sunday a man suspected of killing 12 people, including his father and relatives, and torching up to six homes in a revenge attack, an official and media said.
"The suspect was captured early this morning... and has been taken away by police," a spokesman for the Gaoming county government in Hunan province told AFP by phone.
"Twelve people were killed, six homes were destroyed by fire. The victims included his father. The others were all his relatives spanning five generations."
The killings took place Saturday, he said.
The suspect was identified as Liu Aibing, 34, a migrant worker with a history of mental illness, the Hunan government news site Hongwang reported. Liu had recently returned from southern China's Guangdong province where he had sought employment, it said. Press reports said Liu was seeking revenge on his family for the mistreatment of his mother or was unhappy with how a relative was managing his father's forest patch in the remote mountains of Hunan.
According to Xinhua news agency, under the cover of night early Saturday morning, Liu allegedly first killed his uncle and his uncle's family, shooting them with a hunting rifle and torching their homes.
While villagers awoke and tried to put the fire out, Liu shot or hacked to death with a machete several others, before going to the homes of a relative surnamed Tang, where he cut up several more people and set the homes on fire. Next Liu went to another uncle's home were he set it on fire, allegedly killing his father who was sleeping inside, it said.
According to local villagers, Liu had no history of mental illness, Xinhua said. The oldest person killed was an 86 year-old woman, while the youngest was six years old, it added.
By Saturday night, up to 1,000 special police and paramilitary troops had cornered Liu on a hilltop near Yinshanpai village, where the killings took place, reports said. Two people were also seriously injured in the rampage and were being treated in hospital, reports said.
Photos of the crime scene showed that the homes were burnt to the ground with nothing left but a few stumps of charred wood. China Central Television and other media outlets reported Sunday that a total of 13 people were killed.
The Hunan killings are the latest in a number of family-related murders in China in recent weeks. Earlier this month, police in southwest China captured a man suspected of murdering his parents and four other relatives after he escaped from a mental hospital in Yunnan province. In late November, police in the southern Hainan province captured a man suspected of hacking to death his parents, wife, sons and sister in Beijing.