Three killed in Washington state store shooting, suspect at large

Two victims were shot inside the store and the third was shot outside in what authorities said appeared to be a random act of violence.

Crime scene tape. (photo credit: BRANDON ANDERSON/ FLICKR/ CREATIVE COMMONS)
Crime scene tape.
(photo credit: BRANDON ANDERSON/ FLICKR/ CREATIVE COMMONS)

Three people were killed in a shooting at a convenience store in central Washington state early Tuesday, police said, and the suspect is at large and considered dangerous.

Police were called to a Circle K in Yakima, Washington, at about 3:30 am local time when three people, who have not been identified, were found dead, Chief Matt Murray told reporters. Two victims were shot inside the store, while a third was shot outside in what authorities said appeared to be a random act of violence.

A motive is unknown and the male suspect is considered a danger to the community, he said.

"It appears to be a random situation. There was no apparent conflict between the parties," Murray said. "The male just walked in and started shooting."

United States being struck with back-to-back mass shootings

Yellow police tape lies on the road as federal agents work at a crime scene in the town in Mexico  (credit: ALEJANDRO ACOSTA/REUTERS)Yellow police tape lies on the road as federal agents work at a crime scene in the town in Mexico (credit: ALEJANDRO ACOSTA/REUTERS)

This week, the United States has been horrified by back-to-back mass shootings in California, which left 18 victims dead.

After opening fire in the store, the suspect ran across the street and shot into a vehicle, forcing the driver to move to the passenger seat. The suspect stole the car, described as a gray or silver Chrysler sedan, and fled, police said.

The condition of the driver, including whether he was wounded, was unknown.

Law enforcement collected security footage and accounts of eyewitnesses from the scene as part of an investigation. The police department released a photo on social media of a man wearing all black, including a hat, hoodie and jeans, and white Nike shoes.

Yakima is a city of about 97,000 residents in Washington's Yamika Valley, an agricultural region known for apple crops and wineries.