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Gunman kills five people in California, then himself: police

(Illustrative) A police vehicle blocks the road leading to the scene where a man was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif.
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Police in California said Wednesday that a man went on a shooting rampage in the city of Bakersfield killing five people, including his wife, before turning the gun on himself in what is suspected to have been a domestic violence incident.

"We have six deceased, one is the suspect and five are victims," said Lieutenant Mark King of the Kern County sheriff's office after the shooting. "We believe it's possibly a domestic violence incident."

The shootings took place over at least three separate locations, beginning at a trucking company at around 5:19 p.m. local time.

"When the deputies responded they located three victims of the shooting and the suspect had fled," said King, adding that the man is believed to have shot two more victims at another location.

"At 5:54 pm the vehicle was located at a local business. The suspect noticed the deputy pulled into the business, and then shot himself," said King.

Police are investigating five separate crime scenes and interviewing over 30 witnesses, King said, adding that the man had used a large caliber handgun.

It was the latest chapter of America's epidemic of gun violence.

Americans make up only four percent of the global population but they own 40 percent of the world's firearms, according to a recent study published by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Of the 857 million guns owned by civilians, 393 million are in the United States -- more than all of the firearms held by ordinary citizens in the other top 25 countries combined, according to the Small Arms Survey.

Gun violence accounts for more than 33,000 deaths each year in the United States, and according to the latest Gallup poll, 55 percent of American voters would like to see stricter rules for buying guns.

The issue of gun control is highly sensitive in the United States, where the powerful NRA gun lobby wields significant political influence. 

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