At some point, the man told pursuing officers, “‘I’m going to shoot them,’” Youngblood said.
In the end, the man pulled over again on U.S. 395, turned in his seat and began shooting into the trunk. As many as seven officers opened fire and killed the man.
The hostages were flown to a hospital. Their conditions were unknown, but the sheriff said he believed the two will survive.
The suspect apparently knew all of the victims at the original crime scene in the city of Ridgecrest, about 150 miles north of Los Angeles, Youngblood said.
Tresia Hunter, 57, who lives in a mobile home park adjacent to a duplex where the first shooting occurred, was getting ready to leave for a hospital appointment when she said she heard three gunshots that weren’t in rapid succession.
“It was a loud gunshot, then two to three minutes passed before the next one,” Hunter said. “It took another four minutes before the last one.”
There was some information that the suspect was using Facebook during the pursuit, but it wasn’t immediately clear what the postings were, Youngblood said. Investigators recovered the shotgun and a handgun.
A crime scene was set up along U.S. 395 at Kramer Junction, where two police helicopters landed amid numerous law enforcement vehicles. The CHP said the highway was closed from Kramer Junction for 10 miles north because of the investigation. Youngblood said the highway would likely be closed into the night while the investigation continued.
Schools in Ridgecrest were placed on lockdown as a precaution but were later reopened.
The city of about 27,000 people is adjacent to the vast Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, which sprawls over more than 1,700 square miles of desert. U.S. 395 runs through the western Mojave, below the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada.
Ridgecrest Mayor Dan Clark called the incident disturbing, especially because the small city is relatively crime free.