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Child among four killed in California shooting

LOS ANGELES, USA: At least four people, including a child, have been killed in a shooting at an office building in southern California, US media report.

Police said they were called to the two-storey building on Lincoln Avenue in Orange, south of Los Angeles, at about 17:30 local time (00:30 GMT).

Officers shot and wounded the suspect who was taken to hospital, police said.

The situation has been “stabilised” and there is no threat to the public, the statement added.

“Horrifying and heart-breaking,” said California governor Gavin Newsom on Twitter. “Our hearts are with the families impacted by this terrible tragedy tonight.”

The US was rocked by two mass shootings in March. Eight people – many of them Asian Americans – were killed inside spas in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16, while 10 people were shot dead in a Colorado grocery store on March 22.

President Joe Biden vowed to take “common-sense steps” to crackdown on firearms, renewing his call to ban assault weapons and urging Congress to pass bills that would end loopholes in background checks. It is the third mass shooting in the United States in two weeks.

A spokeswoman for the Orange Police Department Lt Jennifer Amat said officers received a call about 5:30 pm of shots fired and responded to a business at 202 W Lincoln Avenue in Orange. The beige, two-story office complex at the address contains several small businesses.

The officers encountered gunfire when they arrived and opened fire, Amat said. The shooter was taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound and was listed in critical condition on Wednesday night. It was unclear if the wound was self-inflicted or if he was struck by police gunfire.

There is no current threat to the public, she added. A firearm was recovered at the scene.

The other wounded person, a woman, was listed in critical condition Wednesday night.

Amat said the city hasn’t “had a situation like this since the 1997 Caltrans shooting.” In that incident, a former state employee opened fire with an assault rifle at a state maintenance yard, killing four people before dying in a shootout with the police.

Orange, Amat said, “is usually quiet.”

The complex is home to about a dozen businesses, including an insurance office, a marriage therapist, a speech and language pathologist, a phone repair shop and property management companies.

Amat declined to identify the specific business where the gunman first opened fire, but she said the incident began inside one of the complex’s suites before moving to a courtyard area. Investigators will spend the coming days trying to determine the exact sequence of events, she said.

Uvaldo Madrigal was in his office at Lincoln Body and Paint, his auto shop that sits next to the shooting site when he heard popping sounds.

“They sounded very low, so I didn’t think they were gunshots,” he said.

Then Madrigal heard about 10 shots, followed by silence. He looked outside and saw about five police cars in the middle of Lincoln Avenue and officers with their guns drawn.