AT least three people are dead after a shooting at a business park in the US during which staff texted their loved ones to tell them they loved them.
The shooting at a Rite Aid warehouse in Aberdeen, Maryland, was reported to authorities about 9.06am (11.06pm AEST).
WBAL-TV, a local network in Maryland, reported that the shooter was a 26-year-old woman who was taken to hospital but died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Harford County police have since identified the suspect as Snochia Moseley, from Baltimore County.
Rite Aid, a US pharmacy chain, confirmed that the shooting was in one of their business centres and said they learned about it from someone inside.
Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told reporters that Moseley, 26, was a temporary employee at the Rite Aid distribution centre, used a handgun during the attack.
He confirmed three were killed and three injured.
Sheriff Gahler said the assailant apparently was armed with a single handgun “and no shots fired by any officers responding to the scene”.
She had reported for her workday as usual, and around 9am local time the shooting began, striking victims both outside the business and inside the facility,” Gahler said. “We do not at this time have a motive for this senseless crime.”
“She’s not on the radar at all,” police told reporters when asked about Moseley’s prior record, which included little more than traffic offences and a contract dispute.
The 9mm handgun used in the shooting was reportedly registered by Moseley.
Krystal Watson, 33, said her husband, Eric, works at the facility and told her told her that the suspect had been arguing with somebody else near a time clock after a “town hall meeting.” “And she went off,” she said. “She didn’t have a particular target. She was just shooting.”
Alexi Scharmann told local station WBLA-TV that her mother, who works in the Rite Aid building, sent her and her sibling a message to tell her she was hiding.
Mike Carre, an employee of a furniture logistics operation next to the distribution centre, said he helped tend to a wounded man who came hobbling in, bleeding from his leg. He called 911 from a bathroom before helping colleagues wrap the man’s blood-soaked jeans above his injury to cut off blood flow. Carre said the man told him the shooter “just came in in a bad mood this morning. He said she’s usually nice. But today, I guess it wasn’t her day. She just came in to pick a fight with someone.”
Walter Zambrano, 64, who described himself as a worker at the distribution centre, said he was in the bathroom when shooting broke out and saw nothing as he hid, frightened for his life.
The person was “shooting like crazy,” Zambrano said, speaking in Spanish. He said the gunfire seemed to go on several minutes, and when it was over he sprinted outdoors. On the way out, he said he saw a female co-worker down on the floor. The scene, he said, was one of chaos.
“Everyone was screaming, running this way and that. I didn’t know which way to run,” he said.
Attacks by women are extremely rare, however, accounting for less than five per cent of the total, according to studies.
Thursday’s attack came five months after an Iran-born female animal rights activist gunned down three people before killing herself at YouTube’s California headquarters.
Maryland made grim headlines around the world in June when five employees of Capital-Gazette newspapers died after a gunman stormed their Annapolis office.
The man police say is responsible had harassed the newspapers’ employees for years over an article about criminal stalking charges against him, the Baltimore Sun reported.
We are deeply saddened by the events that transpired this morning at the Liberty support facility, which is part of our Perryman Distribution Center in Aberdeen, Md. Our hearts are with the victims and their families. https://t.co/tOxAtnG272
— Rite Aid (@riteaid) September 20, 2018
Originally published as Chilling text during mass killing