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'Mass murder by a madman': Seven shot dead, more injured in Isla Vista drive-by

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The mayhem of the May 23 drive-by shooting in a small college town just next to the University of California, Santa Barbara lasted only about 10 minutes. When it was all over last night around 9:30 p.m., seven people were shot dead and seven more were hospitalized in what Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown called a “mass murder by a madman.” Brown said last night that the shooter was one of the dead.

The shootings took place in Isla Vista, Calif., according to CNN. Brown said that those injured suffered "gunshot wounds or traumatic injuries,” with one of those victims sustaining life-threatening injuries. The sheriff has identified nine different crime scenes in last night’s shooting spree.

According to witnesses on the scene, a black BMW sped through the streets of Isla Vista, “spraying bullets at people and various targets.” The shooter in the BMW had a brief shootout with deputies before his car rammed into a parked vehicle. The suspected shooter was found in his vehicle, dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Although a handgun was recovered, authorities wouldn’t speculate as to whether or not the gunshot wound was self-inflicted or not.

ABC News reported Brown as saying that he wasn’t sure if the suspect was shot by sheriff’s deputies when they exchanged gunfire, or if the suspect took his own life. Kelly Hoover, a spokesperson for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, said a second suspect in the mass shooting was taken into custody following last night’s shooting spree.

The shooter has been identified, although police aren’t releasing that information. Police are reporting now that they believe he may have acted alone.

A video posted on YouTube making threats to Isla Vista residents was being investigated as evidence. "(We are) analyzing both written and video taped evidence that suggest this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder," Brown said. ~ NBC News

Michael Vitak, a student in the area, told reporters he saw the shots being fired out of that speeding BMW, shots which killed one female in the area and severely injuring another. "I heard shots, scream, pain," Vitak said.

Isla Vista is known for parties, including an annual spring bash that turned into a violent blowout last month as young people clashed with police and tossed rocks and bottles. A university police officer and four deputies were injured and 130 people were arrested.

Investigators are still looking into the specific details of last night’s shooting spree.

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