3 dead in California hospital shooting

Posted on April 16, 2009. Filed under: California, mass murder |

LONG BEACH, Calif. – A hospital worker shot and killed two employees and then killed himself at a medical center Thursday, sending panicked people fleeing, police and witnesses said.

The gunman was identified as Mario Ramirez, 50, of Alhambra, who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. The victims were Hugo Bustamante, 46, of Cypress, who died at the scene, and Kelly Hales, 56, of Redondo Beach, who was taken to the hospital’s emergency room in critical condition and died several hours later.

Police Chief Anthony Batts said the gunfire erupted just before noon at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. He said the motive remained under investigation but noted the violence came amid a flurry of recent shootings in the country.

“This is a trend of active shooters that you have seen nationwide,” Batts said at a news conference. “This is becoming a national trend, probably because of the tension that’s going on in our society today.”

Hospital spokeswoman Stacie Crompton-Hime said all three men worked in an outpatient pharmacy where Bustamante was the manager and Hales was the executive director. Asked if the shooting stemmed from a dispute or possible layoffs at the hospital, Crompton-Hime said there were layoffs last month but no other reductions were planned. More on Yahoo! news

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