US mass killings: Four shot dead in California

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Four people were found fatally shot inside an RV in a small Mojave Desert community over the weekend, authorities said, yet another act of deadly violence that keeps the US on a record pace for mass killings this year.

The victims were three women and a man, authorities said Monday.

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There were no immediate arrests, but two people were being sought for questioning as “persons of interest” and there was no ongoing threat to others in the unincorporated community of Mojave, said Lori Meza, a spokesperson for the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

It is the 19th mass killing of 2023, the most through the end of April of any year since at least 2006, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.

A mass killing is defined as the slaying of four or more people other than the assailant. This year has set a record pace with roughly one a week.

Among the latest violence, a 38-year-old man remained at large Monday after he killed five neighbors in a rural Texas town when he was asked to stop firing off rounds in his yard at night while a baby was trying to sleep.

In Mojave, Kern County deputies responded late Sunday night to a reported shooting in the remote community and found the four victims with gunshot wounds to their upper bodies, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Three of them died at the scene, and one of the women was pronounced dead at a hospital, authorities said. Their identities were to be determined and released by the coroner’s office after notification of family members.

“Detectives are pursuing all investigative leads to identify and arrest the suspect[s] responsible for this crime,” the office said.

Other details such as a suspected motive were not immediately released.

Mojave, with a population of 3,600, is along an important rail line at the intersection of two state highways on the western side of the Mojave Desert, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.

The region has a history of gold and silver mining and is currently known for wind farms on nearby hills and the Mojave Air & Space Port, where aerospace companies such as Virgin Galactic have facilities.

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