1 dead, multiple people shot near Azusa polling station as heavily armed assailant opens fire – Los Angeles Times
A man was killed and at least three others were wounded Tuesday in an active shooting near a polling place in Azusa.
Authorities said police were dealing with at least one female suspect who was heavily armed. But several witnesses interviewed by The Times said the shooter was a man.
“This is an active situation,” said Azusa Police Chief Steve Hunt, adding it’s too early to determine whether the violence was in any way related to the election.
“It’s very early to tell what the motive is, but it appears to be concentrated on the residential side, not at the polling station,” Hunt added.
At least one of the victims was headed to the polling station to vote, a law enforcement source told The Times.
Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Ron Singleton said two people were airlifted to an area hospital. The third victim, a man in his 70s, was dead at the scene, he said.
The shooting began about 2 p.m. after a report of gunfire in the 300 block of North Orange Avenue, Hunt said.
Officers arrived to find multiple shooting victims and a suspect with a rifle, he said.
The suspect was armed with an assault rifle with “a rapid fire capability,” Hunt said. Police don’t know if the rifle is fully or semi-automatic.
The shooter immediately fired at least 20 shots at police, said the source.
Under a hail of gunfire, officers took cover and returned shots at the assailant, who retreated into a home in the 500 block of Fourth Street, said the source, who requested anonymity because the case was ongoing. No officers were injured in the shooting.
“After the initial exchange of gunfire, there were victims down at the scene,” Hunt said. “We had to extract them from the scene.”
Officers had the shooter surrounded, and were evacuating the area, the source said.
“This is a very volatile and critical situation,” Azusa Police Officer Jerry Willison said.
Roberto Chavez, 67, and his wife were sitting outside on their porch when they saw a heavily armed man fire at least 10 rounds at a group of people.
Police quickly responded, Chavez said. About 20 officers swarmed into the neighborhood in the 600 block of West Fourth Street, he said.
The gunman, who wore a white shirt and black pants, ran into a home about three doors down from Chavez’s house, he said.
Chavez said he recognized the man as someone who frequently visits and hangs out at his neighbor’s home. He didn’t know the man’s name. He said some of the victims appeared to be neighbors in the area.
Police told him to remain indoors because the gunman had barricaded himself inside a home.
“It’s a very dangerous situation,” he said.
Fabiola Moreno, 47, had just finished making a sandwich for her 5-year-old granddaughter and was walking to the living room where her granddaughter was watching television when she heard three gunshots.
“I thought it was just fireworks,” Moreno said, “But then I thought about it and it really sounded more like gunshots.”
Moreno walked outside of her home to look and saw a man dressed in a white T-shirt with a black vest and black pants. He was armed and was walking away from the parking lot of Memorial Park.
She said the man stopped to reload his weapon and noticed her.
“I just ran inside,” she said. “I secured the door, grabbed my granddaughter and ran into the bathroom, and we locked ourselves there.”
She said from inside, she heard police sirens and more gunshots.
“I don’t know if he shot at the police or they shot at him, but it was several gunshots,” Moreno said. “I was afraid a bullet would come through the walls of the house.”
Moreno spoke to The Times by phone while locked in the room.
Police said there appears to be someone “down” inside a house but did not provide further details.
Azusa Union School District issued a lockdown for Slauson Middle and Mountain View Elementary schools about 2:15 p.m., officials said. A nearby daycare center and preschool was also locked down.
Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan said the shooting affected two polling stations.
He urged voters to avoid the area and “if necessary, cast a ballot at an alternate polling location.”
Times staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.
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5:30 p.m.: This article was updated with Los Angeles County Fire Department confirmed the deceased was a man in his 70s.
4:52 p.m.: This article was updated with new details by the Azusa Police Chief.
4:42 p.m.: This article was updated with a second witness account.
4:13 p.m.: The article was updated with sourcing from law enforcement.
4:06 p.m.: The article was updated with a witness account.
3:41 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details.
3:35 p.m.: This article was updated with Los Angeles County Fire Department confirming one person was dead on arrival.
3:25 p.m.: This article was updated with a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s captain confirming four people were shot and a suspect was heavily armed.
3:10 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the location of the shooting and police urging residents to shelter in place.
This article was originally published at 3 p.m.