At least three people were killed in a gun attack carried out at “random” on a convenience store in Washington state early on Tuesday, officials said, raising again the number of January mass shootings in the US.
The chief of the Yakima police department, Matt Murray, told reporters that a gunman entered a Circle K store in the city 150 miles south-east of Seattle in the early hours and opened fire on people inside.
The shooter then fired again into a car parked outside and took off in the vehicle after the driver moved over to the passenger seat, leaving officials uncertain if there was a possible fourth fatality.
“It appears to be a random situation. There was no apparent conflict between the parties. The male just walked in and started shooting,” Murray told a press conference, which was posted on Tuesday morning to Facebook.
Murray said that the shooter was still at large and described him as a danger to the public. Shortly after the press conference, the police identified the suspect as Jarid Haddock, 21.
On Tuesday afternoon, a Swat team was surrounding a property in Yakima county, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported. Police Sergeant Ryan Wiesner told the newspaper it was connected to the shooting.
Haddock was arrested in March 2020 driving a stolen car, according to a news report by KIMA television at the time. Haddock told officers he was homeless, and had woken up in the vehicle.
The murders in Yakima on Tuesday bring the number of mass shootings in the US since the start of the new year to at least 39, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The incident came less than a day after seven people were killed in a “workplace violence incident” in Half Moon Bay, California, on Monday afternoon.
The archive defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are killed or wounded, not including the attackers.
According to the police chief, officers were alerted to the shooting at about 3am on Tuesday and were on scene quickly.
“They located three deceased parties at the Circle K store, and quickly realized that there was a second shooting scene across the street,” Murray said.
He said the condition of the person who was inside the stolen car was unknown.
“It’s possible the victim’s not hit, it’s possible that they’re shot and alive, it’s possible they’re deceased. We just don’t know.”