A woman armed with a handgun opened fire on Thursday at a Maryland distribution centre for the Rite Aid drug store chain, killing three people and wounding others before the suspect was arrested after apparently trying to kill herself, according to authorities and news reports. "I can confirm multiple wounded and multiple fatalities," Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told reporters at a news briefing, without offering a specific number. "The lone suspect for this incident is in custody and is in critical condition."
Gahler provided no details regarding the suspect`s identity or possible motive. A law enforcement source told Reuters that the shooting was believed to have been sparked by a work-related grievance. It occurred shortly after 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) in the town of Perryman, about 34 miles (55 km) northeast of Baltimore.
NBC News and other media outlets, citing law enforcement sources, reported that the assailant was a woman, an unusual circumstance in and of itself as the overwhelming majority of mass shootings in the United States are committed by men. A number of news outlets, including the Baltimore Sun, reported that three people were killed in the shooting.
The suspect used a single handgun and no shots were fired by law enforcement officers. Gahler declined to respond to a reporter who asked whether that suggested the suspect`s injuries were self-inflicted. CNN reported the suspect tried to take her own life.
The Rite Aid centre, situated among warehouses in an industrial park, has nearly 1,000 employees, company spokesman Pete Strella said. The centre processes products, including pharmaceuticals, for delivery to more than 2,500 stores. "Our prayers are with all those impacted, including our first responders," Governor Larry Hogan wrote on Twitter. "The State stands ready to offer any support."
Agents from the Baltimore offices of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI also responded, the agencies said. The shooting occurred a day after a man shot and wounded four people, including a police officer, at a Pennsylvania court building before he was killed by police, according to Pennsylvania State Police.