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Three dead, gunman on the run in the US state of Washington: police NewsPipa

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A gunman who shot and killed three people in what police say was a random attack was being hunted in the western US state of Washington on Tuesday.

The attack came on the heels of two mass shootings in California that have left 18 people dead, and as the United States again grapples with the horrors of spiraling gun violence.

Police in the city of Yakima say a man killed three people at a convenience store overnight in an apparently unprovoked attack.

“It appears to be a random situation,” said Yakima Police Chief Matthew Murray.

“There was no apparent conflict between the parties. They just walked in and started shooting.”

Murray said officers were examining surveillance footage from the area surrounding the Circle K store after the attack at 3:30 a.m. (1130 GMT).

“The first shooting was inside the store. Then he came outside the store and shot a victim outside the store and then walked across the street and apparently shot another person.

“We have three confirmed deceased parties.”

The suspect then fled in a stolen car from a nearby gas station, Murray said.

Police initially believed a fourth victim was in that car, but later said they did not believe any other people were injured.

“This is a dangerous person and it’s random, so it’s a danger to society,” he said.

“We don’t have a motive, we don’t know why. We will do everything we can to locate and apprehend that person.”

Yakima, located 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Seattle, is a city of about 100,000 people.

The region is largely agricultural, with fruit and hops the most important crops.

The shooting in Yakima is the latest spasm of gun violence to rock the United States.

On Monday, seven people died at two agricultural sites south of San Francisco when a Chinese-American farm worker is believed to have opened fire on his colleagues.

Some of his victims are also known to be Chinese.

On Saturday night, an elderly Asian man rampaged through a dance studio in Monterey Park near Los Angeles, killing 11 people who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations.

Huu Can Tran shot himself several hours later when the police moved in on his van.

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