Deadly shooting at California bowling alley [Yay, USA!]

Police say three people killed and four injured in a shooting at a gaming complex near Los Angeles.

Police said they were searching for a suspect or suspects [Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images]
Police said they were searching for a suspect or suspects [Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images]

Three men have been killed and four wounded in a shooting in the US state of California after a late-night fight at a bowling alley.

The Torrance Police Department said officers responded to calls of “shots fired” at the Gable House Bowl in Torrance, a town about 40km south of Los Angeles, shortly before midnight on Friday

Multiple victims were found with gunshot wounds inside the gaming venue, which offers bowling, laser tag and an arcade.

Police said three men died at the scene and four male victims were injured, two of whom were transported to a hospital for unknown injuries while the other two injured sought medical treatment on their own.

“Investigators are currently conducting a follow-up investigation, and are working to identify the suspect(s) involved,” the department said in a statement.

Authorities have not released details about what led to the shooting, but witnesses said it stemmed from a fight between two large groups of people at the bowling alley.

‘Complete chaos’

Wes Hamad, a 29-year-old Torrance resident, was at the bowling alley with his 13-year-old niece and cousin when he saw a “huge fight” break out.

Hamad told the Associated Press news agency that the brawl, which lasted about five minutes, blocked the entrance of Gable House Bowl and devolved into “complete chaos”.

“I grabbed my niece and started running toward the far end of the bowling alley,” Hamad said. “As we were running, we heard 15 shots.”

As he was leaving, Hamad said he saw a woman weeping over a man who had multiple gunshot wounds to his head and neck.

Damone Thomas was in the karaoke section of the venue, a regular stop for him and his friends after work on Fridays, when people ran in saying there was a shooting.

The 30-year-old Los Angeles resident said his friend flipped over one of the tables to shield them as they heard gunshots.

Thomas told the AP he didn’t feel scared because he was “just trying to survive”. But when he was driving back home, he said he realised how traumatic the situation had been and he hasn’t been able to fall asleep.

“Closing my eyes, all I can see is the women against the wall crying, not knowing what to do,” he said.

The US has long dealt with the issue of mass shootings. In the first four days of 2019, there have been five mass shootings that resulted in five deaths, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a group that tracks such incidents.

Both Thomas and Hamad said they had never witnessed any violence at Gable House Bowl in the past, but Hamad said he had stopped going for a while because he heard someone with a gun was recently seen there.

“I definitely won’t be going back any more,” he added.

According to health authorities, nearly 40,000 people died in the US as a result of firearms in 2017 – a figure that includes suicides.

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California plans stricter gun laws in 2019

California is going to ban anyone under 21 from buying rifles, shotguns and semiautomatic weapons.

Timeline: The deadliest mass shootings in the US

Three of the deadliest mass shootings in US modern history have occurred since November 2017.

Three of the deadliest mass shootings in US modern history have occurred in the last two years.

In February, a gunman opened fire on a high schoolin southeastern Florida, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than a dozen others.

In early November 2017, at least 26 people were killed in a mass shooting during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas, making it the “largest mass shooting in state history”, Governor Greg Abbott said.

The shooting came about a month after Stephen Paddock opened fire on concert-goers at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500 others.

The three shootings are among the deadliest in the US since 1949.

Here’s a look at the deadliest mass shootings in the US over the last two decades:

Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas (2017): At least 58 killed

  • Shooter Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd of concert-goers at a country music festival at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing more than 58 people and injuring 500 others.

Pulse nightclub (2016): 49 killed

  • A heavily armed gunman killed 49 people inside a gay nightclub in the city of Orlando on June 12, 2016.
  • The attacker, US citizen Omar Mateen, was killed in a gun battle with police. He had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, which later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Virginia Tech (2007): 32 killed

  • A 23-year-old student, South Korean national Seung-Hui Cho, went on a rampage at Virginia Tech University in April 2007, killing 27 students and five teachers before committing suicide.

Sutherland Springs, Texas church (2017): At least 26 killed

  • A gunman opened fire on a Sunday morning church service in the small rural town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing at least 26 people and injuring 20 others. The youngest person killed was five years old.

Sandy Hook (2012): 26 killed

  • A 20-year-old American citizen, Adam Lanza, killed his mother in December 2012 before shooting and killing 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He later committed suicide.

Texas restaurant (1991): 22 killed

  • In October 1991, 35-year-old George Hennard, a US citizen, shot dead 22 people in a restaurant in the town of Killeen before shooting himself.

Florida high school (2018): At least 17 killed

  • A former student opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in southeastern Florida, killing at least 17 and injuring more than a dozen others.

San Bernardino (2015): 14 killed

  • A newlywed couple – US citizen Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik, who was a permanent resident – stormed an office party at a social services centre in San Bernardino, California in December 2015, killing 14 people and injuring 22 others. The couple was shot dead by police.

Fort Hood military base (2009): 13 killed

In November 2009, US Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan opened fire at his military base in Killeen, killing 13 people and injuring 42 others.

New York immigrant centre (2009): 13 killed

  • A Vietnamese immigrant, Jiverly Antares Wong, shot and killed 13 people at a civic centre in the city of Binghamton in April 2009, before killing himself.

Navy Yard headquarters (2013): 12 killed

  • Former serviceman Aaron Alexis, a US citizen, shot randomly at workers at the Washington Navy Yard headquarters in September 2013, killing 12 people before he was shot dead by police.

Aurora, Colorado (2012): 12 killed

  • James Holmes, a US citizen born in California, wearing body armour stormed a cinema showing a late-night premiere of a Batman film in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012, opening fire and releasing tear gas. Twelve people were killed and 70 others wounded. Holmes was sentenced to life in prison.

Columbine High (1999): 13 killed

  • Two American teenage boys – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold – shot and killed 12 classmates and a teacher, before killing themselves at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in April 1999.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

America’s gun culture in 10 charts

A gunman has opened fire a synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

While details of the shooting are still to be finalised, the incident is sure to renew the debate about gun laws and the rights of gun owners.

US President Donald Trump has already said the Pittsburgh shooting had “little to do” with US gun laws. “If they had protection inside, maybe it could have been a different situation,” he said.

What do young people think about gun control?

Chart showing how fewer 18 to 29 year old Americans favour gun control now than did in 2000

When looking at the period before the Parkland shooting, it is interesting to track how young people have felt about gun control.

Support for gun control over the protection of gun rights in America is highest among 18 to 29-year-olds, according to a study by the Pew Research Centre, with a spike after the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016. The overall trend though suggests a slight decrease in support for gun control over gun rights since 2000.

Pew found that one third of over-50s said they owned a gun. The rate of gun ownership was lower for younger adults – about 28%. White men are especially likely to own a gun.

How does the US compare with other countries?

About 40% of Americans say they own a gun or live in a household with one, according to a 2017 survey, and the rate of murder or manslaughter by firearm is the highest in the developed world. There were more than 11,000 deaths as a result of murder or manslaughter involving a firearm in 2016.

Chart comparing gun-related deaths as % of total homicides - 64% in US, 30.5% in Canada, 13% in Australia, and 4.5% in England and Wales

Homicides are taken here to include murder and manslaughter. The FBI separates statistics for what it calls justifiable homicide, which includes the killing of a criminal by a police officer or private citizen in certain circumstances, which are not included.

In about 13% of cases, the FBI does not have data on the weapon used. By removing these cases from the overall total of gun deaths in the US, the proportion of gun-related killings rises to 73% of homicides.

Who owns the world’s guns?

While it is difficult to know exactly how many guns civilians own around the world, by every estimate the US with around 270 million is far out in front.

Chart showing top 10 gun-owning countries - US is top, followed by Yemen, Switzerland, Finland and Cyprus - info from Small Arms Survey

Switzerland and Finland are the European countries with the most guns per person – they both have compulsory military service for all men over the age of 18. Cyprus, Austria and Yemen also have military service.

How do US gun deaths break down?

There have been more than 90 mass shootings in the US since 1982, according to investigative magazine Mother Jones.

Up until 2012, a mass shooting was defined as when an attacker had killed four or more victims in an indiscriminate rampage – and since 2013 the figures include attacks with three or more victims. The shootings do not include killings related to other crimes such as armed robbery or gang violence.

The overall number of people killed in mass shootings each year represents only a tiny percentage of the total number.

Tree map showing total number of gun deaths and how many were suicides and homicides

Latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show there were a total of almost 33,600 deaths from guns in 2016 – of which more than 22,900 were suicides. Suicide by firearm accounts for almost half of all suicides in the US, according to the CDC.

A 2016 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found there was a strong relationship between higher levels of gun ownership in a state and higher firearm suicide rates for both men and women.

Attacks in US become deadlier

The Las Vegas attack was the worst in recent US history – and five of the shootings with the highest number of casualties happened within the past 10 years.

The Parkland, Florida, attack is the worst school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012.

Worst mass shootings since 1991 -Las Vegas 58, followed by Orlando 49 in 2016, Virginia tech 32 in 2007, Sandy Hook in 2012 27, and Killeen, Texas 23 in 1991.

What types of guns kill Americans?

Military-style assault-style weapons have been blamed for some of the major mass shootings such as the attack in an Orlando nightclub and at the Sandy Hook School in Connecticut.

Dozens of rifles were recovered from the scene of the Las Vegas shooting, Police reported.

Pie chart showing most gun-related murders are committed using handguns

A few US states have banned assault-style weapons, which were totally restricted for a decade until 2004.

However most murders caused by guns involve handguns, according to FBI data.

How much do guns cost to buy?

For those from countries where guns are not widely owned, it can be a surprise to discover that they are relatively cheap to purchase in the US.

Among the arsenal of weapons recovered from the hotel room of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock were handguns, which can cost from as little $200 (£151) – comparable to a Chromebook laptop.

Graphic showing price of an assault rifle $1500 and handgun $200

Assault-style rifles, also recovered from Paddock’s room, can cost from around $1,500 (£1,132).

In addition to the 23 weapons at the hotel, a further 19 were recovered from Paddock’s home. It is estimated that he may have spent more than $70,000 (£52,800) on firearms and accessories such as tripods, scopes, ammunition and cartridges.

Who supports gun control?

US public opinion on the banning of handguns has changed dramatically over the last 60 years. Support has shifted over time and now a significant majority opposes a ban on handguns, according to polling by Gallup.

But a majority of Americans say they are dissatisfied with US gun laws and policies, and most of those who are unhappy want stricter legislation.

Chart showing Americans unhappy with US gun laws want stricter rules

Some controls are widely supported by people across the political divide – such as restricting the sale of guns to people who are mentally ill, or on “watch” lists.

72% of Republicans, or adults who lean Republican, believe that 'concealed carry' should be allowed in more places while only 26% of Democrats do.

But Republicans and Democrats are much more divided over other policy proposals, such as whether to allow ordinary citizens increased rights to carry concealed weapons – according to a survey from Pew Research Center.

In his latest comment on the shootings, President Donald Trump said he would be “talking about gun laws as times goes by”. The White House said now is not the time to be debating gun control.

His predecessor, Barack Obama, struggled to get any new gun control laws onto the statute books, because of Republican opposition.

Who opposes gun control?

The National Rifle Association (NRA) campaigns against all forms of gun control in the US and argues that more guns make the country safer.

It is among the most powerful special interest lobby groups in the US, with a substantial budget to influence members of Congress on gun policy.

Chart showing rise in lobbying expenditure by NRA - from just over $1m in 2000 to more than $3m in 2017

In total about one in five US gun owners say they are members of the NRA – and it has especially widespread support from Republican-leaning gun owners, according to Pew Research.

In terms of lobbying, the NRA officially spends about $3m per year to influence gun policy.

The chart shows only the recorded contributions to lawmakers published by the Senate Office of Public Records.

The NRA spends millions more elsewhere, such as on supporting the election campaigns of political candidates who oppose gun controls.

Florida yoga studio shooting: Two killed and four injured (Shoot ’em if you got ’em!)

Emergency vehicles are parked outside the Hot Yoga studio where a guman opened fire in Tallahasee, Florida, U.S., November 2, 2018,The shooting at the hot yoga studio happened late Friday afternoon

 

Two women have been killed and five others injured after a gunman opened fire in a Florida hot yoga studio.

Scott Paul Beierle killed Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21, after entering the studio in Tallahassee at 17:37 local time (21:37 GMT) on Friday, police say.

The 40-year-old then apparently turned the gun on himself, Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo told reporters.

Beierle’s motive for “this heinous act” is not known at this time, he added.

Mr DeLeo said his officers responded to reports of the shooting at Tallahassee Hot Yoga within “three, three-and-a-half minutes”, by which time Beierle was already dead.

A number of other victims received gunshot wounds, while one person was pistol-whipped.

“There are indications that several people inside fought back and tried to not only save themselves but other people, which is a testament to their courage,” Mr DeLeo said.

Two of the victims remain in hospital, while three others have been treated and released.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum – who is currently running as the Democratic candidate for Florida governor – said he would be cutting short a campaign event and returning to the city.

“No act of gun violence is acceptable,” he said. “I’m in close communication with law enforcement officials and will be returning to Tallahassee tonight.”