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Child among 4 dead in shooting at California office building

(A police officer surveys the scene after a shooting at an office building in Orange, Calif., Wednesday, March 31, 2021. The shooting killed several people, including a child, and injured another person before police shot and wounded the suspect, police said. AP Photo: Jae C. Hong)

By STEFANIE DAZIO and ROBERT JABLON, LOS ANGELES (AP):- A child was among four people killed Wednesday in a shooting at a Southern California office building that left a fifth victim wounded and the gunman critically injured, police said.

The violence in the city of Orange southeast of Los Angeles was the third U.S. mass shooting in just over two weeks.

When police arrived at the two-story building at about 5:30 p.m., shots were being fired, Orange Police Lt. Jennifer Amat said. Officers opened fire and the suspect was taken to a hospital, Amat said.

It was unclear whether the suspect suffered a self-inflicted wound or was shot by police. Police provided no details about the victims other than to say one was a child and a that woman was critically wounded.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a tweet called the killings “horrifying and heartbreaking.”

“Our hearts are with the families impacted by this terrible tragedy tonight,” he said.

Amat had no information about what may have prompted the attack. She said the shooting happened on both levels of the building.

Signs outside indicated a handful of businesses are located there — including an insurance office, a financial consulting firm, a legal services business and a phone repair store.

People gathered outside the building after the shooting hoping to get word about loved ones.

Paul Tovar told KTLA-TV that his brother owns a business in the building, Unified Homes, a mobile home broker.

“He’s not answering his phone, neither’s my niece,” Tovar said. “I’m pretty scared and worried … right now I’m just praying really hard.”

Charlie Espinoza also was outside the building and told The Orange County Register that he could not reach his fiancé, who works for a medical billing company.

Cody Lev, who lives across the street from the office building, told the newspaper he heard three loud pops that were spaced out, then three more. There was a period of silence and then Lev said he heard numerous shots, followed by sirens and more shots.

A Facebook livestream posted by a resident who lives near the office appeared to show officers carrying a motionless person from the building and officers helping another person.

The killings followed a mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, last week that left 10 dead. A week before that, six Asian women were among eight people killed at three Atlanta-area spas.

Orange is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Los Angeles and home to about 140,000 people. Amat said the shooting was the worst in the city since December 1997, when a gunman armed with an assault rifle attacked a California Department of Transportation maintenance yard.

Arturo Reyes Torres, 41, an equipment operator who had been fired six weeks earlier, killed four people and wounded others, including a police officer, before police killed him.

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