GEORGE, Wash. (AP) — Two people were killed and three others injured after police said a shooter began firing “randomly” into a crowd at a Washington state campground that was hosting people attending a nearby music festival on Saturday night, police said.
Authorities received the first report of the shooting shortly before 8:30 p.m. at the camping area a few hundred yards from the Gorge Amphitheater, where thousands of people were attending an electronic dance music festival, said Kyle Foreman, public information officer with the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. The Gorge is near the small city of George, about 150 miles (239 kilometers) east of Seattle.
After the initial shots were fired, the suspect started moving through the campground and “continued to shoot randomly into the crowd” until he was eventually confronted by police and taken into custody, Foreman said.
The suspect was shot in the confrontation with police, Foreman said. The suspect was hospitalized for his injuries, but no further details were immediately released.
A public alert had advised people that there was an active shooter in the area and to “run, hide or fight,” but Foreman said there was no effort to evacuate the festival. The festival continued following the shooting and did not end until early Sunday morning, Foreman said.
“He was, again, on the periphery of the property. Law enforcement had eyes on him, and they were able to keep him in that area. He wasn’t moving toward the venue,” Foreman said.
Yazmin Alvarez, 30, was with her husband and friend at a campsite near the amphitheater when a woman ran by and told them there was an active shooter, Alvarez told the Seattle Times.
Alvarez’s group ran toward the exit, finding cover by buildings near a road, along with another dozen or so people. They saw helicopter lights as the festival carried on nearby.
“It just felt uncomfortable since we are also hearing people having a great time to the left of us,” Alvarez said. The group went back to the campground to retrieve their IDs and sweaters but left their camping gear behind.
Details on the victims would be released at a later time, Foreman said.
Organizers of the Beyond Wonderland electronic music festival said on social media that Sunday’s events at the Gorge were canceled.
Concert organizers described the shooting site as an “overflow camping area,” and most people who were staying there were likely at the concert when the shooting occurred, Foreman said.
An independent oversight group, the North Central Washington Special Investigation Unit, is investigating the shooting.