(SEATTLE) — The suspected killer of three people and shooter of two others at a cafe Wednesday in Seattle’s University District apparently has shot himself, police said.
A man matching the description of the shooter put a gun to his head and fired as police approached, officials said.
“When the officers and SWAT started vectoring in on the suspect, the suspect saw uniformed officers, he apparently knelt down in the middle of the street and put the gun to his head,” Seattle Police Assistant Chief Jim Pugel told reporters.
It was not immediately clear if the suspect was alive or dead.
Earlier in the day, a gunman opened fire at Cafe Racer Espresso around 11 a.m. PST, police said.
Two victims, both male, died at the scene. A third died at Harborview Medical Center.
No immediate details about the shooting victims were released.
Police scoured the surrounding area for the suspect, who fled north and was believed to be carrying a semi-automatic rifle.
“We are asking folks to be on guard and not to open their doors to anybody they don’t know,” Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz told ABC’s Seattle affiliate, KOMO-TV, earlier Wednesday. “We’re focusing our search in the immediate area, probably a good 10 blocks out. We don’t have a good idea of where he may be.”
The suspect was described as a thin, white man between 30 and 40 years old. He was approximately 6-foot-1 and had curly, light brown hair and a beard or goatee. Witnesses said he was wearing a white-and-brown plaid shirt and dark pants.
It was unclear what prompted the shooting.
Roosevelt High School, which is near the cafe, was put on lockdown while police armed with rifles continued to search the area.
Two other nearby schools, Greenwood Elementary School and Eckstein Middle School, were put on a modified lockdown, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
No one answered the phone at Cafe Racer. A recorded message urged callers to “remember to come visit us, where we keep safety third.”
A second, unrelated shooting occurred 30 minutes later in the city. An unidentified woman was shot in the head in what police say could have been an attempted carjacking.
The second gunman also was on the loose. He was described as a 35-year-old white man with blonde hair.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
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