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Police Search For Gunman Who Killed Four At Mall In Washington State

(Reuters) – Police in northwest Washington state on Saturday conducted a manhunt for a gunman who opened fire in a mall, killing four women and critically wounding a man, media said.

A man walked into the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, about 65 miles (105 km) north of Seattle and began shooting at about 7 p.m. local time on Friday, Washington State Patrol spokesman Mark Francis said on Twitter.

Four women were killed in the attack in the mall’s Macy’s store cosmetics department, Francis told the New York Times.

Authorities initially said on social media four people were killed in the shooting. As authorities cleared the mall and assessed the situation, the number of dead was revised to three, according to several local and national media outlets.

Early on Saturday, the Times along with several other media outlets reported that the authorities had increased the number of dead again to four.

Local and state police officials were not immediately available for comment.

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle said in a statement that it was treating a man who was in critical condition from the shooting.

Francis said on Twitter that police and rescue workers carefully worked their way through the 434,000-square-foot (135,000 m) mall, clearing stores and evacuating shoppers some of whom, according to local media, locked themselves in dressing rooms.

He also said police were searching the area for the shooter, who was described as a “Hispanic male wearing gray” and last seen walking toward a nearby highway away from the mall.

Local authorities searched throughout the night for the gunman, believed to be armed with a rifle and warned residents to remain inside.

“Tragedy has struck in Washington tonight. Our hearts are in Burlington,” Governor Jay Inslee said on Twitter.

The shooting comes less than a week after a man stabbed nine people at a mall in central Minnesota before being shot dead. The FBI is investigating that attack as a potential act of terrorism.

NBC News reported that Washington State Patrol had said that there was no indication of terrorism in the shooting in Burlington.

“At this time, the FBI has no information to suggest additional attacks planned in WA state,” the agency said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee. Editing by Jane Merriman)

IMAGE: Washington State Trooper Mark Francis speaks to the media at the Cascade Mall following reports of an active shooter in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 23, 2016.  REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight

While America Mourns, Gun Manufacturers Profit From Spiked Sales

As the nation mourns the 49 victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, some are experiencing the benefits of a mass shooting: gun manufacturers.

On Monday, the stocks of the two leading gun manufacturers, Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co. went up by 8.8 percent and 4.5 percent respectively.

Gun sales usually spike following mass shootings. According to an analysis of federal background checks by The New York Times, “fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales.”

Gun lovers, apparently fearing an attempt by the Obama administration to “take their guns,” buy weapons at increased rates immediately after mass shootings.

Last January, guns sales jumped up after President Obama announced an executive action to expand background checks and bolster licensing requirements for dealers as a response to the attack in San Bernardino, which killed 14 people. The FBI ran more background checks than in any other January on record.

The number of background checks is currently the best way to estimate gun sales, but that figure only counts transactions, not the number of guns bought in each sale, and it excludes private gun sales in 32 states which do not require a background check for private sales.

After the Paris terrorist attacks, shares of Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co. also went up because of high sales. In fact, just two weeks after the attack, on Black Friday, more Americans background checks run on them in order to buy guns than on any other day on record, according to data released by the FBI. That December, more guns were sold than in any other single month on record.

The previous record month is December 2012, the month of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that killed 26 people, of which 20 were children.

The Sandy Hook sparked a gun control debate, and as the NRA fired up their efforts, encouraging Americans to defend their 2nd Amendment right and stop scary Democrats from passing gun control laws, huge amounts of money poured into the National Rifle Association, which received $96.4 million in contributions and grants in 2013, 11.5 percent more than the previous year.

Money manager Louis Navallier noticed there was a big opportunity for profit when he realized stocks went up after the Bataclan Concert Hall attack in Paris. He started buying stocks and accumulating positions in both Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co. That investment would greatly pay off. After both the San Bernardino shooting and President Obama’s executive action announcement, stocks once again rose.

“Mr. Obama is the best gun salesman on the planet,” Navellier, who is the chairman of the investment firm Navallier & Associates, told CNBC in January, before adding that none of his investors had concerns about the moral implications of profiting from gun sales. “They just want us to make money.” He said.

The NRA has remained silent on the Orlando tragedy, something it tends to do after mass shootings. When they do comment on tragedies like this, it is often hours or even days after the fact. Sometimes, as in the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, they just ignore the tragedy altogether. That Friday, they wished “shooters” a “happy Friday.”

When they do comment on shooting tragedies, the NRA’s response is usually to call for more gun sales, sticking to their core argument that “only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.” That was their response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy that killed 26 people, of which 20 were children. After waiting a couple days to comment, the NRA suggested that teachers ought to carry guns.

“Why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect the president of our country or our police, but bad when it’s used to protect our children in our schools?” NRA president Wayne LaPierre asked.

There was an armed guard at the door of the “Pulse” nightclub.

 

Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club, where as many as 20 people have been injured after a gunman opened fire, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016.  REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Shots Fired At Love Field Airport In Dallas

Multiple shots were fired at Love Field airport in Dallas, Texas, on Friday near a baggage claim area in an incident that prompted an evacuation, Dallas TV station Fox 4 reported.

Witnesses said they heard as many as nine shots, TV broadcaster NBCDFW said.

Local media reports said car traffic had been halted to the airport a few miles from central Dallas that is a major center for Southwest Airlines.

Airport officials were not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Bernadette Baum

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Murder-Suicide Kills Two At UCLA, Shuts Down Campus

By Alex Dobuzinskis and Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A murder-suicide killed two people at the University of California, Los Angeles on Wednesday, shutting down the campus for two hours as officers in camouflage and tactical gear responded to reports of a shooting.

“A homicide and a suicide occurred,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters near the scene, saying a gun was recovered at the scene.

“It appears to be entirely contained,” he said. “There are no suspects outstanding and no continuing threat to UCLA’s campus.”

Both victims were males, officials said, without offering further details.

The shooting created a stir as police approached the scene fearing the shooter might still be active and university officials ordered the campus locked down.

At least three city blocks leading into the campus were filled with dozens of emergency vehicles. Officers in camouflage uniforms with rifles, bulletproof vests and helmets surrounded the area of the shooting.

An armored car was parked in the middle of one intersection, and helicopters clattered overhead.

Students and other bystanders stood calmly, taking pictures on their cell phones and watching the emergency workers.

Bioengineering student Bahjat Alirani said police were yelling at people to run from the scene.

“I was in Boelter Hall to take a final and I exit the staircase to see SWAT-looking police yelling at everyone to evacuate immediately,” Alirani told Reuters.

UCLA, with more than 43,000 enrolled students, is in the Westwood section of Los Angeles and one of the more well-regarded schools in the University of California system, known for its successful sports program.

Police received multiple calls of shots fired around 10 a.m. (1.00 p.m. ET), triggering an immediate search for suspects and victims by LAPD and campus police, officials said.

Erica Roberts, a sophomore economics major from Rockville, Maryland, said she took shelter inside the student health center about 10 minutes after she had arrived for work there.

“Everyone is really on edge and contacting loved ones to let them know we are safe,” she said in a telephone interview. “I’m trying to stay in contact with all my friends on campus to make sure they are OK. Everyone is just terrified.”

 

Additional reporting by Amy Tennery, Lisa Girion and Nichola Groom; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Tom Brown

Photo: A Los Angeles Metro Police officer stands watch on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus after it was placed on lockdown following reports of a shooter in Los Angeles, California June 1, 2016.  REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon