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Gunman in Seattle kills six at party

Police say he then committed suicide

SEATTLE -- A gunman opened fire early yesterday in a home, killing six partygoers and critically injuring at least one other before committing suicide when confronted by police outside.

Five victims' bodies were found in several places at the rented home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood east of downtown, police spokesman Rich Pruitt said.

One of three other people taken to a hospital died. Officers took about a dozen witnesses to a police station to interview them.

''It's one of the largest crime scenes the city has ever had," Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said.

Dozens of rounds were fired in the house, where about 20 people ranging from their teens to mid-20s had gathered after a larger party nearby, in which some of the guests wore makeup ''to look as if they were dead," the chief said.

He said the shooter left the party briefly and returned with a handgun and a 20-gauge pistol-grip shotgun, which Kerlikowske described as ''a weapon not designed for hunting purposes, but for hunting people."

The gunman, identified only as a local man in his late 20s, also wore bandoliers of shells for the shotgun and carried additional clips for the handgun, the chief said. In his truck, police found an assault rifle and multiple banana clips carrying 30 bullets each.

Kerlikowske said the shooter searched through the house for partygoers. When the gunman couldn't get into an upstairs bathroom where two people had locked themselves in, he fired rounds through the door, the chief said. The people were not injured.

Officers said they were not aware of a possible motive. Police said they did not know whether drugs or alcohol were a factor, although Kerlikowske said marijuana and alcohol were found in the house.

Kerlikowske said an officer in the neighborhood heard shots fired just after 7 a.m. When Officer Steve Leonard reached the scene, he found one person staggering out of the house with a gunshot wound.

The officer confronted a man who emerged with a shotgun, telling him several times to put the weapon down, Kerlikowske said. The man turned the gun on himself and fired a fatal shot, he said.

William Lowe, 59, who lives across the street, said he heard six shots shortly after his alarm went off. He looked out and saw people fleeing the home, Pruitt said.

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