Five killed in Seattle shooting spree

A gunman killed five people in a shooting spree in Seattle before turning the weapon on himself as officers closed in, police said.

The shootings shocked the northwestern US city that has now seen as many murders this year as it did in the whole of 2011.

The suspect, identified by the Seattle Times as 40-year-old Ian Stawicki, is believed to have entered Cafe Racer Espresso, near the University of Washington, at around 11 am (1800 GMT), where he shot five people with a pistol, two of whom died at the scene.

Half-an-hour later, Stawicki is believed to have shot dead a woman in downtown Seattle before fleeing in a black Mercedes-Benz SUV.

An officer spotted the suspect a few hours later a mile-and-a-half away from the abandoned vehicle.

When patrol cars approached Stawicki he put a gun to his head and fired one round, Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz said, according to the Seattle Times.

"The man detectives believe to be the lone suspect in four murders in two locations shot himself in the head when approached by @SeattlePD," read a tweet from the Seattle police department earlier Wednesday.

He was taken alive to a Seattle clinic where he and two more of his victims later died.

"We've had two tragic shootings today that have shaken this city. And it follows on the heels of multiple tragic episodes of gun violence that have occurred throughout the city," Seattle mayor Mike McGinn told reporters.

The motive for the shootings was not clear, but the suspect's brother told the Seattle Times he was mentally ill.

"It's no surprise to me this happened. We could see this coming. Nothing good is going to come with that much anger inside of you," Andrew Stawicki said.

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