A workplace shooting just before 2:30 p.m. in a quiet neighborhood of Long Beach on Friday left two men dead, including the shooter, officials said.
Long Beach police said they went to a law office in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood amid reports of an active shooter at large. They said they found multiple casualties but it was no longer considered an active shooting scene.
Authorities said the gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and did not engage with police. Police found a weapon at the scene.
Two men died inside the law office, in the 300 block of San Antonio Drive, said Long Beach Police Department Sgt. Brad Johnson.
A third victim took himself to a hospital; he was listed as stable and is expected to survive. Johnson said all three men were employees of the law firm.
Long Beach City Councilman Al Austin, who was briefed by police, said the shooter — a former employee at the law offices of Larry H. Parker — killed one person and then himself. Austin represents the Bixby Knolls area.
Johnson, however, would not say whether the shooter was a former employee and would not specify which law office the man worked for.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said police reacted with a large force because of the uncertainty of the incident.
“The police are doing an active investigation. They are talking to folks that were obviously there and folks affiliated with both the victims and the shooter,” he said. “All of us are sad and thinking about the victims and families involved.”
The area was blocked off by police and fire crews. Several ambulances were on the scene.
The building’s windows were decorated with Christmas displays featuring candy canes and Santa Claus.
A satellite office of the law firm, at 3925 Atlantic Ave., was cordoned off with police tape and being guarded by a squad car with emergency lights on.
Joy Wilson said she had heard police sirens outside her home, about a block away from the shootings, and walked outside. There she saw about two dozen people running down San Antonio Drive, “looking like they were trying to get away.”
“They were definitely panicking,” Wilson said, standing near the police tape, helicopters buzzing overhead.
Police were there with assault rifles and technical gear.
“Something bad was happening,” she said. “They were moving.”
Residents said they were stunned by the violence.
“This is a very safe area,” said Agnes, 40, who lives in a nearby apartment and did not want to give her last name. She had strolled to Trader Joe’s when she came upon the crush of police cars and helicopters flying overhead.
“Everything was always fine. We have good neighbors — that is why I am in shock.”
Kelly Bray, 61, who lives in an apartment around the corner from where the shooting occurred, said he was on his way home when he saw the police helicopters.
“When you see helicopters over your home, and they're police helicopters, that's a bad sign,” he said.
He called his two sons, who were at the apartment, and told them not to leave. Then he walked up to the scene, where he saw dozens of police officers, some wearing body armor and helmets and carrying shotguns and M16s.
He saw paramedics staging at the nearby 7-Eleven and two police teams form on either side of San Antonio and approach the law office in a “conga line.” Other officers were crouched behind police cars on San Antonio, guns drawn.
Police then made him and others vacate the area.
“Nothing like this happens here,” he said.