LOS ANGELES | The shooter suspected of having killed four people, including a nine-year-old child, Wednesday night near Los Angeles, had personal or professional ties to the victims and had premeditated his attack, local authorities said Thursday.
• Read also: California: four people, including a child, shot dead
“It was not an act of random violence”, insisted at a press conference Jennifer Amat, lieutenant of the Orange police force, south of Los Angeles.
The shooting comes after two recent killings that killed 18 people in March in the United States and reignited the debate over the proliferation of guns in the country.
The shooting was reported at around 5:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday at a small office building in Orange County.
The suspect, identified as Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, had taken care to lock the access gates with bicycle locks, which initially prevented the police from entering the building.
Through the gate, they opened fire on the gunman, who was injured and hospitalized in serious condition, Lt. Amat said.
Once inside, the emergency services discovered in the courtyard of the building a nine-year-old child, deceased, and an adult woman who had also been wounded by gunshot.
She was hospitalized in critical condition.
“It appears that a little boy died in the arms of his mother who was trying to save him during this horrific massacre,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.
Police then found the lifeless bodies of three other victims, two women and a man, on the premises of a small real estate company and on a nearby landing.
They also discovered a semi-automatic pistol and a backpack containing pepper spray, handcuffs and ammunition, which presumably belongs to the suspect, Amat said.
“From the first elements, we believe that the motive (of the attack) is linked to the business and personal relations that existed between the suspect and all the victims,” she added.
On March 22, a gunman killed ten people at a supermarket in Boulder, Colo., Less than a week after a man shot eight people at Asian massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia.