Election Day shooter was on cocaine

  • 10/11/2016
Police officers are seen at the scene of a shooting near a polling station, in Azusa (Reuters)
Police officers are seen at the scene of a shooting near a polling station, in Azusa (Reuters)

The gunman who killed an elderly neighbour and critically wounded two other people in an Election Day US shooting spree was high on cocaine.

The 45-year-old suspect was killed by police gunfire on Tuesday (local time) in the normally quiet foothill town of Azusa, about 40 km northeast of Los Angeles, according to an update from the county sheriff's department.

Although the midday shooting rampage unfolded across the street from a polling place, disrupting voting activities at the venue, police have said it had nothing to do with the US presidential election.

Authorities had said the gunman's motives were unknown. But the sheriff's department said in a statement on Wednesday that detectives since "have learned that the suspect was on a cocaine binge" when he stepped outside his home and began shooting at passing cars.

One woman was struck by gunfire while driving a van, which later crashed. The gunman then walked up to a 77-year-old neighbour and shot him dead, before shooting another woman down the street outside, police said.

The two women were hospitalised in critical condition.

Officers responding to initial reports of gunshots came under fire as they tried to assist victims at the scene. Returning fire, police then surrounded the house and cornered the suspect inside, according to authorities.

The man was found dead hours later when police finally gained entry to the home, authorities said. Neither the suspect nor his victims were publicly identified.