Four killed in shooting in Southern California, police say

A police officer stands in front of a building after a shooting at an office building in Orange California in the United States. — Reuters

At least four people, including a child, have been shot and killed, and one person injured following an exchange of fire at an office building in the U.S. state of California, police said.

Authorities recovered a semi-automatic handgun and a backpack containing pepper spray, handcuffs and ammunition that they believe belonged to the suspect.

What we know: Police said the suspect, 44-year-old Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, was also wounded during the shooting and was in critical but stable condition at a local hospital, though it is unclear if his injury was self-inflicted or if he was shot by police. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent, spurring concerns that the gunman was motivated by anti-Asian hatred. She said Leticia Solis and Matthew Farias, a young boy, were also among the victims.

Orange is a city south of Los Angeles with a population hovering around 140,000.

Police were already in the area and were able to respond immediately to multiple 911 calls of shots fired, said incoming Police Chief Dan Adams, who will take over for Tom Kisela, who is retiring on July 3.

After engaging with the suspect and firing shots, police were able to enter the courtyard and found the suspect, who was injured, and took him into custody.

"He's not answering his phone, neither's my niece", Tovar said. I'm pretty scared and anxious. She remains hospitalized, Farias said.

The complex is home to about a dozen businesses, including an insurance office, a marriage therapist, a speech and language pathologist, a phone fix shop and several property management companies. The complex where the shooting occurred houses multiple businesses including Farmer's Insurance, Calco Financial and Miller Counseling.

Wednesday evening's shooting marks the third multiple-victim shooting in almost as many weeks.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted Wednesday, "Horrifying and heartbreaking". "Our hearts are with the families impacted by this bad tragedy tonight". Last week a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, and killed 10. "We have to do something about the guns on our streets".

Mr Smith said he heard that repeated twice more by a man's voice and believed it was a police officer speaking.

"The residents of Orange County can rest assured that the District Attorney's Office is taking every possible step to ensure that every aspect of this case and the subsequent officer-involved shooting is thoroughly reviewed and that justice will be served for each and every victim", he added.

Tim Smith's home is separated from the office's carpark by a backyard wooden fence.

"The first words I heard after the shots were fired were 'Don't move or I will shoot you, '" Smith, 64, said Thursday morning.

Police said Gonzalez knew all the victims either personally or through business. He did not hear other voices or more shots. He later peeked over the fence and saw SWAT officers marching in a line in the building's courtyard.

"They sounded very low, so I didn't think they were gunshots", he said. "A senseless loss of life".

Orange police said Wednesday night's shooting there was the deadliest since 1997, when four state transportation employees were killed in a work yard by a former co-worker.

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