Suspect faces malice murder and aggravated assault charges as calls to stem anti-Asian hate grow after deadly attacks.
At least four people, including a child, have been shot dead, and one person injured following an exchange of fire at an office building in the US state of California, police said.
The attack took place on Wednesday evening in the city of Orange as the shooter, whose motivations are so far unknown, was shot by an officer and taken to hospital, police said, adding that the suspect’s condition was not known.
Orange police said on Thursday that the gunman knew all the victims either through business or personally.
The attacker had chained shut the gates to the site of the shooting, forcing officers to engage him from outside.
Police withheld the identities of the dead but said one was a nine-year-old boy; the others were a man and two women. A fifth individual had been hospitalised.
The incident began at approximately 5:30pm local time Wednesday (00:30 GMT) on the upper floor of a small office building in Orange.
Police and the suspect exchanged fire, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Officers arrived as shots were being fired and located multiple victims at the scene including fatalities. An officer-involved shooting occurred,” the Orange Police Department said in a post to their Facebook page.
“The situation has been stabilised and there is no threat to the public,” it added.
California Governor Gavin Newsom posted on Twitter: “Horrifying and heartbreaking. Our hearts are with the families impacted by this terrible tragedy tonight.”
Horrifying and heartbreaking. Our hearts are with the families impacted by this terrible tragedy tonight. https://t.co/nw3On2RJH2
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 1, 2021
“I’m deeply saddened by reports of a mass shooting in Orange County, and I’m continuing to keep victims and their loved ones in my thoughts as we continue to learn more,” US Representative Katie Porter from California also tweeted.
I’m deeply saddened by reports of a mass shooting in Orange County, and I’m continuing to keep victims and their loved ones in my thoughts as we continue to learn more. My team and I will continue to monitor the situation closely. https://t.co/e736MgqCQe
— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) April 1, 2021
This comes after two other high-profile mass shootings earlier this month, which set off a renewed debate about gun control measures in the US.
On March 22, 10 people were killed in a shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, less than a week after a man shot and killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, at spas in Atlanta, Georgia.