At least three dead in Washington state in latest US mass shooting

Biden backs plans to restore ban on assault rifles after 20 killed in series of mass shootings in California

Police in Washington state were on Tuesday searching for a gunman after at least three people were killed at a shop and petrol station, the latest mass shooting in the United States over recent days.

Police said a man “just walked in and started shooting” at a Circle K convenience store and petrol station in Yakima, Washington, early on Tuesday. Police said a fourth person may have been shot as the gunman stole a car nearby.

Yakima police chief Matt Murray said: “This is a dangerous person and it is random, so there is a danger to the community.

“We don’t have a motive and we don’t know why.”


US president Joe Biden, meanwhile, has backed moves by Democrats in the US Senate to reintroduce a ban on assault rifles as well as other gun control measures.

The move comes after a series of mass shootings in California over recent days which has left 20 people dead.

Just two days after a gunman killed 11 people at a dance studio at Monterey Park near Los Angeles, seven people were shot dead in an agricultural area close to San Francisco.

In another incident at Oakland near San Francisco on Monday, police said one person was killed and seven wounded in a “shooting between several individuals”.

Mr Biden said that when he signed gun safety legislation last year after another series of shootings he had argued that more needed to be done “to keep our communities safe and keep dangerous firearms out of dangerous hands”.

“In the short time since, communities across America have been struck by tragedy after tragedy, including mass shootings from Colorado Springs to Monterey Park and daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines.”

“Today, senator [Dianne] Feinstein [of California], with whom I worked with to pass the last assault weapons ban in 1994, has once again introduced an assault weapons and high-capacity magazine ban in the Senate, as well as legislation raising the age to purchase them to 21.

“In the 10 years that the assault weapons ban was on the books, mass shootings went down. After Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled.”

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 39 separate shooting incidents so far in January across the US, in which four or more people were killed or injured. Nearly 70 people have died.

Shortly after Mr Biden made his statement urging stricter gun control measures, news emerged that seven people had been shot dead at Half Moon Bay about 48km south of San Francisco. A gunman opened fire on groups of farm workers at two locations about 1.5km apart.

The accused gunman, identified as Chunli Zhao (67), was taken into custody a short time later after he was found sitting in his vehicle parked outside a sheriff’s office where authorities said they believed he had come to turn himself in.

Police told a news conference that a legally purchased semi-automatic handgun was found in his car.

Police said the evidence suggested the shootings represented an incidence of “workplace violence”.

At Monterey Park, east of Los Angeles, police are continuing their investigations into the shootings at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Saturday in which 11 people were killed and nine others wounded.

Police said the suspect, identified as Huu Can Tran (72), subsequently drove to another dance studio but was confronted by staff who managed to wrestle the gun away from him.

Tran, a long-time patron of the Star Ballroom, catering mainly to older dance enthusiasts, fled from the scene.

Police said he shot himself in his van in the town of Torrence, south of Los Angeles, on Sunday as authorities surrounded him.