The suspect called a
Nearly two hours later a sheriff's deputy spotted the suspect's car and a pursuit began. The suspect fired at least 10 times from inside his black Dodge Dart, and tried to run vehicles off the road. No motorists were hurt, Youngblood said.
At one point during the chase, which lasted more than 40 minutes, the suspect pulled over and the car's trunk popped open, revealing a man and woman inside. They appeared to shut the trunk, the sheriff said.
At the end, the man pulled over again on U.S. 395 and began shooting into the trunk. As many as seven officers opened fire, killing him.
The hostages were flown to a hospital. Their conditions were unknown.
At the original crime scene in the city of
The suspect apparently knew all of the victims, he said.
There was some information that the suspect was using Facebook during pursuit, but it wasn't immediately clear what the postings were, Youngblood said.
During his phone call, the man also said he had a package he wanted to deliver to police, the sheriff said. It was unclear if a package was found. Investigators recovered a shotgun and a handgun.
A crime scene was set up along U.S. 395 at Kramer Junction, where two police helicopters landed amid numerous law enforcement vehicles. The CHP said the highway was closed from Kramer Junction for 10 miles north because of the investigation.
Schools in Ridgecrest were placed on lockdown as a precaution but were later reopened.
The city of about 27,000 people is adjacent to the vast Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, which sprawls over more than 1,700 square miles of desert. U.S. 395 runs through the western Mojave below the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada.
Ridgecrest Mayor Dan Clark called the incident disturbing, especially because the small city is relatively crime free.