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Four killed at California backyard party, gunman on the loose - police

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By Reuters

By Rich McKay

(Reuters) – A gunman was still on the loose overnight after opening fire at a family party in a backyard in Fresno, California late on Sunday, killing four people and wounding six, police said.

The gunman walked into the backyard where a gathering of about 35 family and friends was watching a football game before 8 p.m., Fresno Deputy Police Chief Michael Reed said in a late night news conference. Three men died at the scene and another died at a hospital, he said.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this thing,” Reed said. “This was senseless violence. We’re going to do everything we can to find out who the perpetrators were and bring them to justice.”

Neighbours soon flooded 911 dispatchers with calls for help.

The suspect fled the scene and police were combing the neighbourhood for witnesses and possible security camera footage, police said.

Police did not release further information about the shooting in the city about 200 miles (320 km) north of Los Angeles, except that the dead were men between the ages of 25 and 35.

Others wounded at the party may have driven themselves to hospital, police said, adding that some victims were taken to a nearby community medical centre with gunshot wounds.

A police spokesman was not immediately available to Reuters for further comment.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Clarence Fernandez & Shri Navaratnam)