A gunman shot and killed four people in a home in rural western Washington state on Friday before shooting himself, authorities in the Mason County confirmed.
Four victims confirmed and the suspect is deceased.— Mason County Sheriff (@MasonCoSheriff) February 26, 2016
The shooting incident happened in Belfair, Washington early morning, and the authorities were notified through a phone call from the gunman himself who said that he had shot four people. Authorities of the SWAT team responded to the house quickly and tried to negotiate with the suspected gunman before he stepped out and shot himself in front of the deputies.
“Police surrounded the home near the community of Belfair, about 25 miles (40 km) west of Seattle across Puget Sound, but did not immediately enter the residence because the man was armed with a handgun,” Spurling said.
Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury reported about the event and detailed what happened during the process. “It’s a terrible tragedy,” Salisbury told the Seattle Times. A girl has been said to have survived and has been rushed to the hospital for an evaluation.
“The original report I got was that he shot himself out on the porch and had come out of the building,” Spurling said.
“We had a 12-year-old that escaped out of the house at some point, and our officers got her and transported her with an ambulance.” Spurling added that he had no idea about the girl’s condition or the relationship to the shooter, but suspected that the two were related.
Investigation is ongoing and we will get more information out when we can. pic.twitter.com/foW8zGGbwz— Mason County Sheriff (@MasonCoSheriff) February 26, 2016
Jack Pigott, a neighbor who lived across the road, told Reuters about the incident where he reported hearing several bursts of gunfire coming from the wooded property.
“Four or five rounds and then a pause, and then another four or five rounds and a pause and then a couple more rounds.”
He also “assumed they were target shooting, which they had a tendency to do once in awhile.”
The suspect called a sheriff’s sergeant on the officer’s work cell phone and said that he “did something”. He also asked the authorities to come to the residence.
It is yet to be known how the suspect knew the sergeant’s telephone number, Deputy Chief Ryan Spurling detailed, “the gunman did have a previous contact with the sergeant.”
“When law enforcement officers turned up at the home at about 8:30 a.m. (1630 GMT) they could see the man through a window and could see that he was armed,” Osterhout said.
Pics for earlier. pic.twitter.com/mH167LFIur— Mason County Sheriff (@MasonCoSheriff) February 26, 2016
All the four victims were found in one area on the property, away from the gunman, Osterhout reported.
A spokesperson for the North Mason School District reported that one of the kids involved in the incident was a student in the district for a few months last year. The child was then homeschooled, the spokesperson said.
The action has also impacted the entire community, including the deputies and first responders, investigators said.
“I think the important part is to recognize those and those officers’ families tonight because they have a lot to go through tonight in dealing with this,” said Sheriff Salisbury.
[Image via Twitter]