Los Angeles

Two Dead, Two Hurt in Shooting in Azusa

One witness said she heard, "pow, pows, then a rain of fire"

Two men were killed and two women were hurt in a shootout between a gunman and police in an Azusa neighborhood Tuesday, prompting the lockdown of two schools and two polling stations.

The incident was reported at 2:05 p.m. near Memorial Park on North Orange Avenue, officials said. The city is about 25 miles east of Los Angeles.

All four people were shot in the crossfire of the gun battle, police said. One of the dead men was the gunman. Officers found a rifle near his body in the doorway of a home, officials said. They do not believe the man killed himself.

A second man — the gunman's neighbor — died en route to a hospital. Two women were listed in critical condition, with one wounded in the face and one shot in the body, authorities said.

SWAT officers located the dead suspect nearly four hours later at a house in the 500 block of Fourth Street, officials said. 

Police say the gunman, who formerly served in the miltiary, was on a "cocaine binge."

During the man's shooting rampage, he ambushed officers after killing his neighbor. 

The police went to the home on a call of shots fired, but details about how the situation unfolded were murky.

Initially police said they believed it was a female suspect armed with an assault rifle with rapid-fire capability. But police later said there was no evidence that a female or anyone else was involved in the shooting. There were initially a lot of rumors about suspects, officials said.

When police responded to the home, the heavily armed gunman ambushed officers who returned fire. 

"The cops are yelling to get down, get down, get down," witness Matthew Ortega said. 

Elizabeth Hopkinson said she and her 9-month-old son were locked down at a polling place nearby. She said she was going to drop off her mail-in ballot when the shooting happened.

She heard, "pow, pows, then a rain of fire."

She said she was locked down with about 25 others in the gym.

Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan advised voters who use these closed polling stations to go to any other polling place in the area to vote.

The affected polling stations are at Dalton Elementary School and Memorial Park.

The shooting doesn't appear to have any direct connection to the election, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Adrian Arambulo, Hetty Chang and City News Service contributed to this report.

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