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Eight Dead As Gunman Goes On Rampage

PTI 20 Jan 2010, 11:06:32 IST
PTI

Eight people have been killed in shootings in central Virginia, a US law enforcement official said.

The official asked for anonymity because the person was not authorised to speak about the investigation.

State police said there were multiple deaths and injuries in Appomattox, south-west of the state capital, Richmond, on Tuesday, and that a lone gunman was responsible.

 
They said more than 100 law-enforcement officials had the suspect circled in woods where they believed he was hiding.

State police said the gunman also fired at a state police helicopter, which had to land with a ruptured fuel tank after one or more rounds struck it.


No police officers were injured.

The violence began shortly after noon local time (6am AEDT on Wednesday) when an injured man was found on a rural stretch of road.

A deputy who went to investigate fled after he heard gunshots, police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said.

"When the deputy arrived on the scene, that's when he heard several shots," State Police Sergeant Thomas Molnar said.

He said there were "several fatalities and one injury".

Police were still trying to determine the suspect's relationship with the victims.

Police could not say what sparked the violence.

Residents near the shooting scene were told to remain inside with their doors locked and a small school was locked down until state police could escort about 60 children from the building.

"We're just being cautious, keeping our doors locked, not going outside," said Bethel Hawkins, who lives about three kilometres up the road from where the shootings occurred.

"Our church service is supposed to be tonight, but we talked with our pastor and told him we're not coming out. We're not going out in the dark not knowing what's out there. But we trust in the Lord to take care of us." AP