A gunman killed four people and wounded at least three others, including a police officer, during a series of shootings in the Denver area on Monday, the police said.
The suspect, whom the authorities did not immediately identify, died during a shootout.
The authorities were seeking a motive after the shootings, which occurred across several locations in and near Denver, Colorado’s capital. Paul M. Pazen, the Denver police chief, told reporters during a news conference: “This is the holiday season. To have this type of spree take place is not normal for our community.”
The shootings started shortly after 5 p.m. in central Denver, where two women were killed and a man was injured, Chief Pazen said.
Shortly afterward, a man was fatally shot several blocks away, the chief said, and police officers exchanged gunfire with a suspect during a pursuit.The same suspect then fled to the nearby city of Lakewood, Chief Pazen said.
Just before 6 p.m., the Lakewood Police Department received a report of shots fired at a business, John Romero, a spokesman for that department, told reporters during a joint news conference with Chief Pazen. A gunshot victim was later found and pronounced dead at the scene, Mr. Romero said, adding that police officers identified the car and the shooting suspect. They did not reveal his name.
When the officers found the car, the gunman opened fire, and officers shot back, Mr. Romero said. The gunman then fled on foot to a Hyatt hotel, where he is believed to have shot a clerk. He also shot and wounded a Lakewood police officer after he left the hotel.
The wounded officer was undergoing surgery, Mr. Romero said at the news conference. Paul Osckel, a spokesman for the Lakewood Police Department, said that he had no further information on the officer’s condition. The hotel clerk’s condition was not immediately clear as of Monday night.
Mr. Romero said the suspect was later shot in Lakewood and pronounced dead at the scene. It was not immediately clear if police officers had shot him.
Chief Pazen said that, based on preliminary information, the Denver Police Department believed that the same person was responsible for the shootings and the earlier shootout with the police.A number of mass shootings have taken place in Colorado since two students at Columbine High School shocked the nation in 1999 by killing a teacher and 12 classmates. In March, a gunman killed 10 people at a Boulder grocery store, including a police officer. About two months later, a gunman opened fire at a birthday party in Colorado Springs, killing six people before taking his own life. And last month, six teenagers were wounded in a drive-by shooting at a park in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
The Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as one with four or more people injured or killed, not including the perpetrator, has counted 687 such shootings in the United States this year.