KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Three people were shot to death, including the assailant, and at least two were wounded on Sunday in a shooting spree at a Kansas City shopping mall, police said.
Police were investigating whether an earlier homicide at a house 6 miles away involved the shopping mall gunman, who was killed by an officer.
Local television reported late on Sunday that the first victim was a 67-year-old woman found dead in her kitchen. The reports quoted family members as saying a male neighbor had been harassing her.
Kansas City police said a man, whom they did not immediately identify, pulled into a parking lot outside the mall that was filled with “hundreds and hundreds” of shoppers and immediately fatally shot two people who were parked on each side of him.
The gunman went into the mall and wounded at least two other people, according to Sgt. Tony Sanders.
“It was just mass chaos, as you can imagine, on a Sunday in a crowded mall,” Sanders said.
The incident came nearly two weeks after a Virginia Tech university student killed 32 people and then himself in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Sanders said police were called to the mall and shot and killed the attacker, who was armed with what he would only describe as a “long gun.”
The series of events began about 2 p.m. CDT (1900 GMT) when police were called to a home in an upscale south Kansas City neighborhood where they found a body. After discovering the victim’s car was missing, police put out a description of the vehicle.
An officer who subsequently pulled the suspect vehicle over went to the driver’s side of the car, when the driver pulled out a handgun and shot him through the arm and fled, according to police.
The officer was taken to a hospital with a non-life threatening injury.
About 15 minutes after that incident, police received the report of the shooting at the nearby mall. They entered and shot the gunman there, Sanders said.
Witnesses told radio and television they heard shots inside the mall, and one said his son saw a man on the ground in shock with blood on his face.
Additional reporting by Jui Chakravorty in Detroit