Gunman kills five people in Utah

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The Independent US

A man with a shotgun entered a US shopping mall and began randomly shooting customers last night, killing five people and injuring at least four others before being killed, police said.

More than three hours later, police were still searching stores for shocked shoppers and employees who were awaiting a safe escort from the Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City.

"We have six fatalities and multiple victims at hospitals," said police Detective Robin Snyder. "They were found throughout the mall. I don't know male or female or ages."

At least four people were in hospital, three in critical condition and one in serious condition, hospital spokesmen said. Two of the critically injured were a 16-year-old man and a 50-year-old man.

Authorities offered few details about the shootings but said the gunman entered the enclosed mall at about 6.45pm local time.

The two-storey building is a refurbished trolley barn, with a series of winding hallways and about 80 shops.

Antique store owner Barrett Dodds, 29, said he saw a man in a trenchcoat exchanging gunfire with a police officer outside a card store. The gunman, he said, was backed into a children's clothing store.

"I saw the cops go in the store. I saw the shooter go down," said Dodds, who watched from the second floor.

Barb McKeown, 60, of Washington, DC, was in another antique shop when two frantic women ran in and reported gunshots.

"Then we heard shot after shot after shot - loud, loud, loud," said McKeown, saying she heard about 20. She and three other people hid under a staircase until it was safe to leave.

Many employees and shoppers - "a lot of scared people" - were still inside the mall hours after the shootings, waiting to leave, Snyder said.

"This is a huge area to cover," she said.

Streets were blocked outside the mall as police swarmed the two-block scene. Dozens of people lingered on the pavement, many wrapped in blankets as they talked about what they had seen inside.