Gunman shoots five as he says: 'I'm out to kill all white people'

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The Independent US

As it absorbed Tuesday's fatal school shooting in Michigan involving two six-year-old classmates, America was confronted by still more gun violence yesterday when a man opened fire in two fast-food restaurants in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killing one person and critically wounding at least four others.

As it absorbed Tuesday's fatal school shooting in Michigan involving two six-year-old classmates, America was confronted by still more gun violence yesterday when a man opened fire in two fast-food restaurants in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killing one person and critically wounding at least four others.

This time, the attacks appeared to be racially motivated. A witness told a local television reporter that a man brandishing a weapon had spoken to her moments before the attacks. "He said, 'I'm out to kill all white people'," the woman said. The man, a black, then told the woman that he would be "dead in 10 minutes".

The drama in Wilkinsburg unfolded live on television across the country. The man is believed to have begun his deadly spree by shooting a maintenance worker in his apartment building at point-blank range before setting fire to his own flat. He is then thought to have fired further shots in a Burger King restaurant and a nearby McDonald's.

As police swarmed into the downtown area of Wilkinsburg, the man took hostages in a local office building housing day-care and senior citizens' centres. The stand-off ended when he surrendered to police.

In Michigan, meanwhile, officials said that they were unlikely to press criminal charges against the six-year-old boy who took a gun into his school on Tuesday and fatally shot a classmate of the same age. Two adults were under arrest and will be questioned on how the child got the gun.

Investigators highlighted the boy's disordered family. His father is in prison after a probation violation. His mother lived with an array of lodgers and visitors. There were claims that both illegal guns and drugs have long been present in the house. The boy, who has not been identified, had a history of fighting and verbal abuse in the classroom that had led to an earlier suspension.

Details are still sketchy, but it seems that the boy had some kind of playground argument with the victim, Kayla Rolland, on Monday. Early on Tuesday, when the teacher was lining up her pupils to take them to the library, the boy took the .32calibre handgun from the waist of his trousers, aimed it at one of the other children, then turned to Kayla. The gun had one bullet that he fired into her neck. She died about 30 minutes later at a local hospital.

The child has been released from custody and sent to spend the night with a relative, police said. He is likely to be taken into state care shortly. Meanwhile, there was nothing to suggest that he has any inkling of the gravity of what he has done. "His actions were naughty, in his mindset," said Arthur Busch, a county prosecutor.

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