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Spasm of shootings in Seattle leaves 4 dead

A gunman opened fire at a Seattle cafe, killing three people, critically wounding two others and setting off a manhunt that forced officials to close nearby schools, authorities said.

world Updated: May 31, 2012 09:18 IST

A gunman opened fire at a Seattle cafe, killing three people, critically wounding two others and setting off a manhunt that forced officials to close nearby schools, authorities said.

Police searching for the suspect also had to respond to another fatal shooting near the city's downtown. They say a man killed a woman in an apparent carjacking and fled in a black SUV.

Authorities didn't immediately know whether the shootings yesterday were related.

The latest spasm of deadly gun violence to hit the city worried Seattle's leaders and prompted police to consider increasing patrols in high-crime areas. The three deaths bring the number of homicides to 19 this year, compared to 21 in all of last year.

Gunfire erupted late yesterday morning at Cafe Racer, a restaurant and music venue north of the University of Washington. The gunman was described as a man in his 30s wearing dark clothes.

Two men died at the scene. A woman from the cafe died at a hospital.

Evan Hill, who lives above the building where the cafe shooting happened, said the cafe was an artists' collective and performance space.

"It's the strangest place to think of a shooting," said Hill, who heard four to five shots.

Units of police officers marched by with rifles and shotguns, knocking on doors and checking driveways and yards in the neighbourhood of single-family, bungalow-style homes, restaurants and businesses.

In the second shooting, the SUV that the gunman fled in was later found, but the suspect remained at large, police said.