US gunman shoots dead dad, child

2012-10-21 17:02


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Inglewood - Police are searching for a gunman who wore a painter's mask as he set fire to a home before going on a shooting spree, killing a father and his four-year-old son and injuring a woman and two other young children near Los Angeles.

The 30-year-old father was shielding two of his children when he was shot, said Inglewood police chief Mark Fronterotta.

The 28-year-old woman - said to be the children's mother - carried the wounded four-year-old to a neighbour's yard after the attack.

"This extraordinary rescue attempt by the mother occurred in spite of the fact that she had gunshot wounds to both legs," a police department statement said.

A police commando team set up a perimeter and used dogs on Sunday to search for the attacker, who may have lived in a rear house on the property, Fronterotta said.

Police have no motive, but a neighbour, Judy Castellanos, said that the suspect lived in one of three units on the property and described him as "really weird" and "dangerous."

She said he had not paid rent for years and that a new property owner had been trying to evict him.

"He had been asked to leave by the end of this month," she said, adding that he was reclusive and would not let anyone look inside his home.

Five neighbouring houses in Inglewood were evacuated as officers searched residences and cars.

Other nearby residents were told to remain inside with their doors locked.

The suspect was described as armed and dangerous.

Detectives determined the suspect set a house on fire before he began shooting, Fronterotta said.

He apparently wore a painter's mask during the attack to try to shield his identity, the chief said.

Investigators were trying to determine whether he fled or remained in the house as it burned.

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