A disgruntled employee has killed three people at a California quarry and injured seven in two separate shootings, triggering a police manhunt and alerts at nearby schools, police said.
LOS ANGELES –
Six people were injured, including two seriously in the initial incident at 4am on Wednesday at the Hanson Permanente quarry in Cupertino, south of San Francisco, said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.
A short time later, the suspect shot a woman in the leg at a parking lot nearby after an attempted carjacking, before fleeing on foot in Sunnyvale, near the headquarters of computer giant Hewlett Packard, she said.
By mid-afternoon, some 12 hours after the first shooting, the suspect was still at large.
"We are actively searching for the suspect. We believe the suspect is armed and dangerous," said Smith, updating the casualty toll as a daylong manhunt continued, with police backed by helicopters and sniffer dogs.
"At this time there are three dead, two were dead at the scene, one was pronounced dead at the hospital," she said, adding that some of the injured were in critical condition.
Officers had found the suspect's car and recovered one shotgun, a handgun and two assault rifles, she said, while adding that it was believed he still had the handgun and assault rifle used in the initial attack.
Several SWAT teams were dispatched to the rock quarry to hunt for the gunman, who was reported to have become upset during a shift change meeting attended by about 15 male staff in the early hours.
He was named as 45-year-old Shareff Allman, a loader operator at the quarry and cement works.
"When he showed up he was armed with a handgun and a rifle, and started to just indiscriminately shoot at participants at the meeting," said a Sheriff's Office spokesman, adding that the shooting reportedly last only two minutes.
The gunman then left the area in a dark-coloured sedan, and a short time later a second incident was reported, in which the suspect attempted to carjack a female victim and shot her in the leg.
"At that point Mr Allman fled the area on foot – that's why we believe him to still be nearby the area," he added, adding that the suspect was believed to have a company radio.
Police issued a mugshot of Allman and appealed for him to give himself up.
"Please surrender. There are a lot of officers out there. We need you and we need you now, and we need to make sure that the public is safe," Smith told reporters.
At one point police appeared to be surrounding a house near the scene of the second shooting in Sunnyvale, but KTVU reported that officers then dispersed, without indicating whether they had more information on where the gunman was.
Smith said Allman had a "minor" criminal record. Local media said his most serious conviction was for forgery in 1992, when he served a short jail sentence.
The local Fremont Union High School District sent an emergency e-mail telling parents of some 10,400 students to keep them home from school, but many were already on their way, the newspaper said.
Students and teachers were being asked to stay indoors, it reported, although there was no formal lockdown.
The cement company said it was stunned by the killings.