4 killed, including child, at Calif. office building

It marks the third mass shooting in the United States in two weeks

Matthew Ormseth, Anh Do
Los Angeles Times

ORANGE, Calif. — Four people, including a child, were killed Wednesday evening and a fifth person was injured in a mass shooting at an Orange office complex.

It marks the third mass shooting in the United States in two weeks, coming after incidents at three Atlanta spas that killed eight people, including six Asian women, and at a Boulder, Colorado supermarket that killed 10.

Investigators gather outside an office building where a shooting occurred in Orange, Calif., Wednesday, March 31, 2021.
Investigators gather outside an office building where a shooting occurred in Orange, Calif., Wednesday, March 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Few details were immediately available about the motive for this shooting or details about the victims.

Lt. Jennifer Amat, a spokeswoman for the Orange Police Department, said officers received a call about 5:30 p.m. of shots fired and responded to a business at 202 W. Lincoln Avenue in Orange. The address is a beige, two-story office complex that contains a number of small businesses.

The officers encountered gunfire when they arrived and opened fire, striking the shooter, who was taken to a hospital in an unknown condition, Amat said. There is no current threat to the public, she added.

The condition of the wounded person wasn’t known.

Amat said the city hasn’t “had a situation like this since the 1997 Caltrans shooting.” In that incident, a former state employee opened fire with an assault rifle at a state maintenance yard, killing four people before dying in a shootout with the police.

Orange, Amat said, “is usually quiet.”

A row of large apartment complexes sit across Lincoln Avenue.

Nathan Zachary, 18, and his father had been cooking fried chicken for dinner when, while scrolling through Instagram, he saw news of the shooting. The two went outside to see what was going on.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Zachary said, describing the neighborhood as “a safe, really safe area.”

He and his father stood curbside in flannel pajamas, trying to track the movement of the many police officers milling about the scene.

“Hard to sleep,” Zachary said, “unless you know what’s going on.”

Camilo Akly, 28, couldn’t pick up his younger brother, who was hanging out with a buddy in a home facing the crime scene.

So on Wednesday evening, after walking several blocks to reach his sibling, then seeing “one by one by one of the police cars pulling up, then hearing the helicopter, then watching firefighters rushing in,” he paused to try and make sense of the situation.

“You think that nothing could be going on during your evening, and all of a sudden, it changes really fast,” he said. “So much to be careful of these days.”

Other neighbors spilled onto the sidewalk, filming the commotion with their phones and posting the footage on social media, speculating about the shooter’s motives, and huddling near news cameras to hear the latest update.

Rep. Katie Porter wrote on Twitter: “I’m deeply saddened by reports of a mass shooting in Orange County, and I’m continuing to keep victims and their loved ones in my thoughts as we continue to learn more.”

Porter’s district includes parts of Orange.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic coincided with a decline in mass shootings, which dropped to the lowest levels in nearly a decade, a recent series of mass shootings has left many Americans reeling and seeking answers from lawmakers.

Robert Aaron Long, 21, faces murder charges after he allegedly attacked three spas in the Atlanta area on March 16. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent, spurring concerns that Long was motivated by anti-Asian hatred. The womens’ deaths came amid a spikes of anti-Asian hate crimes and other incidents of harassment, which have been rising in the last year.

In the Boulder shooting, Ahmad Ali Aliwi Alissa, 21, was taken into custody and faces 10 counts of murder. The victims included a 51-year-old police officer, who was one of the first to respond to the scene. The nine other victims ranged in age from 20 to 65.

©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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