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Sunday 21 September 2014

Seven killed in drive-by shootings

Published 24/05/2014 | 12:36

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A GUNMAN sprayed bullets from a car, killing six people, in a drive-by shooting in a southern California college town before his car crashed and he was found dead inside, authorities said on Saturday.

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Seven people were also wounded in what the Santa Barbara County Sheriff described as a premeditated atrocity late on Friday in the town of Isla Vista near the University of California at Santa Barbara campus.

"This incident appears to be a mass murder situation," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told a televised news conference. "We currently have seven people confirmed dead. That includes the suspect and six victims."

Officials did not identify the suspect.

The sheriff said authorities were investigating a video tape posted on YouTube that appeared to be have been made by the suspect. "It would appear that is connected," Brown said.

The video shows a young man who says he is a 22-year-old virgin complaining bitterly and repeatedly that women have rejected him.

"I will have my revenge against humanity," he says, vowing to retaliate with a mass slaughter of college students and Isla Vista residents. "I will punish all of you for it."

About 10 minutes elapsed between the first 911 calls to emergency services and the gunman being found dead in his car, the sheriff said.

Witnesses reported seeing a black BMW speeding through the streets and spraying bullets at people and other targets in Isla Vista, a beachside community where many college students live, California's KEYT-TV reported.

Brown could not immediately say whether the suspected gunman was killed by deputies in the exchange of fire or died of a self-inflicted wound. It is also not known whether he was a UCSB student.

Witness Xavier Mozejewski told the station the incident was like an "old Western shoot-out."

College student Brad Martin told a University of California at Santa Barbara student newspaper that his girlfriend was "absolutely hysterical" after being approached by the gunman with a weapon she initially was not sure was real.

"She said the next second he raised it up to her face ... and she turned around and started running. That's when she heard 'bang, bang, bang' right behind her as she was running," Martin told the Daily Nexus.

The sheriff said deputies twice exchanged fire with the gunman before his vehicle crashed and he was found inside, dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Authorities recovered a semiautomatic handgun, he said.

"We have obtained and are currently analyzing both written and videotaped evidence that suggests this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder," Brown said, describing the shooting as "obviously the work of a madman."

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