A man who fatally shot three people in what was apparently a random attack at a convenience store in Yakima, Wash., early Tuesday morning later shot and killed himself after an hourslong police manhunt, the authorities said.
The gunman, Jarid Haddock, 21, took his own life before officers arrived and found him about 3:15 p.m., the authorities said.
Earlier, the Yakima Police Department had identified Mr. Haddock as the suspect in the shooting at a Circle K store on the city’s east side, where they were called around 3:30 a.m. Officers found three people dead inside and outside the store, the police chief, Matthew Murray, said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon. He said that the police did not know the motive for the killings in Yakima, a city of about 96,000 people in central Washington.
As patrons at Circle K ate their food on Tuesday morning, Mr. Haddock — who was armed, unmasked and seemingly making no attempt to conceal his identity — opened the door of the store and immediately began shooting people, Chief Murray said. Two people were killed inside the store, he said.
Mr. Haddock then walked out of the store, saw someone else in a car and fatally shot that person, Chief Murray said.
“From the video and the witness statements, it looks very much random,” he said, adding that there were no apparent conflicts between the victims and Mr. Haddock. “We may learn throughout the investigation that there was something else.”
The names of the victims have not been released by the authorities.
The police initially believed that after killing the three people, Mr. Haddock had fired into a vehicle near the store and stolen it to get away. But investigators later learned that Mr. Haddock had actually locked his keys inside his car and fired at the window in order to get inside, Chief Murray said.
The killings set off an hourslong search for Mr. Haddock; a tip from a woman eventually helped the authorities find him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.
At a Target store in Yakima, the woman, whose name was not shared by the police, let Mr. Haddock use her cellphone to make a call, Chief Murray said. She then heard Mr. Haddock call his mother and say, “I killed those people,” according to Chief Murray.
Mr. Haddock returned the phone and walked off on foot. The woman then called 911 and shared what she had heard, Chief Murray said.
“I listened to that call; it’s pretty harrowing,” he said. “And I have to really thank her again because she was very courageous in getting us there.”
When the officers found Mr. Haddock dead, they also discovered a “large amount of ammunition and a weapon” near him, Chief Murray said. He did not say what type of gun was found.
The shooting made Yakima, about 140 miles southeast of Seattle, the latest community in the United States to grapple with gun violence in the first weeks of 2023. It came just hours after a man fatally shot seven people in Northern California on Monday, including four at a mushroom farm near Half Moon Bay, a coastal community south of San Francisco. On Saturday night, 11 people were killed and nine others were wounded in a shooting at a ballroom dancing venue in Monterey Park, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb.
As the search for the gunman in the Yakima shooting unfolded, the East Valley School District ordered students to be kept inside. The police closed roads in the area for several hours.
Representative Dan Newhouse, a Republican whose district includes Yakima, called the attack a “horrific tragedy” on Twitter and urged the community to “remain vigilant.”
Chief Murray said at the news conference that when had been asked on Tuesday by a reporter how a random killing could be prevented, his response was blunt: “I don’t know how.”
“That makes people uncomfortable,” he said. “And I think that’s why America is uncomfortable right now with a lot of these crazy incidents that are occurring.”
Even his small community, he said, had not been spared.
“Here we are in little Yakima, right on the heels of California, dealing with much the same thing,” he said. “But I don’t have the answers.”