Gunman in Austin, Texas, kills one woman, wounds 3 - officials

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1 Dead, 4 Injured in Downtown Austin Shootings

July 31 (Reuters) - A gunman killed a woman and seriously wounded three others in Austin early on Sunday when he shot into a crowd as people streamed out of nightclubs in the Texas capital's downtown area, police said.

The unidentified gunman opened fire at about 2:15 a.m. local time before fleeing, Austin police chief of staff Brian Manley told reporters. The motive for the attack, which occurred just minutes after bars closed, was not immediately clear.

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"It was a very chaotic scene," Manley said. He described people emerging from clubs and bars running in all directions at the sound of gunfire, as police officers on patrol rushed to the scene.

The gunman killed a woman in her 20s and wounded three other women, who were transported to a local hospital with injuries that are serious but not life-threatening, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services spokesman Mike Benavides told reporters.

Manley said police were seeking help from the public, including any video recordings, in an effort to find the shooter who is believed to be in his 20s.

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17 PHOTOS
Notable death penalty executions and people on death row
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Notable death penalty executions and people on death row
Seated on his bunk in the death cell of Iberia Parish Courthouse, convinced that 'The Lord is Still with Me,' is Willie Francis, a 17-year-old who won a million-to-one chance of a reprieve from death when the electric chair failed to kill him, or even hurt him, at his scheduled execution on May 3. Sentenced to die for the murder of a St. Martinville druggist a year ago, Francis was strapped in the chair. The current was applied. The doomed man squirmed and jumped. But when the current was shut off, he was unharmed. 'It tickled a little,' he said. The state will try again to carry out the execution on Thursday May 9th.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

This is John Wayne Gacy's police arrest photo from Dec. 21, 1978. Following intensive research, investigation and surveillance, Gacy was arrested by the Des Plaines (Ill.) Police Department on Thursday, Dec. 21, 1978. After being charged with and serving time for 33 murders, Gacy was executed in 1994 by lethal injection. Today, Monday, Nov. 23, 1998, technicians began preliminary work on a possible excavation at an apartment building on Chicago's Northwest Side in search of as many as four more possible victims of the mass murderer. The apartment building at one time, was the home of Gacy's mother, and Gacy had done some construction work there. The information regarding the location was recently released from a retired Chicago police officer who said he had seen Gacy carrying a shovel near the area at about 3 a.m. one day in 1975. The former officer reportedly thought little of the Gacy sighting until three years later, when Gacy was charged with 33 murders. The apartment building is about four miles away from Gacy's house.

(Des Plaines Police Department, Tim Boyle)

A portrait of mass murderer Ted Bundy, responsible for a string of murders in Washington state, Utah, and Florida in the 1970s. He was executed in in Florida on January 24, 1989. His actual victim count remains unknown.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Aileen Wuornos is shown in this undated photograph from the Florida Department of Corrections. Wournos was executed by lethal injection October 9, 2002 in Florida for murdering six men when she was a prostitute.

(Photo by Florida DOC/Getty Images)

Admitted mass-slayer Charles Starkweather is shown entering court for the second day of his trial for murder. Starkweather admitted killing 11 people and was executed in Nebraska on June 25, 1959. 

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is shown being escorted from the Noble County Courthouse as he is transported to Oklahoma City for arraignment in this April 22, 1995 file photo. On June 11, 2001, McVeigh was executed after being sentenced to death for the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, a crime that took 168 lives and shook a complacent America to the core.

(Jim Bourg / Reuters)

Gary Gilmore, responsible for the shooting deaths of two men, was executed in Utah on January 17, 1977.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Media witnesses to the firing squad execution of John Albert Taylor examine the chair in which Taylor sat as he was shot to death at 12:03 a.m. Mountain time January 26 at the Unita State Penitentiary in Utah. The execution of Taylor was the first by firing squad in the United States since the 1977 execution of Gary Gilmore in Utah.

(POOL New / Reuters)

Stanley 'Tookie Williams' was responsible for several murders and other crimes and was executed in California on December 13, 2005. Williams helped found the Crips gang, but was later nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-gang efforts. He authored such books as 'Life in Prison,' encouraging kids to stay out of gangs, and his memoir 'Blue Rage, Black Redemption'.'

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Teresa Lewis, convicted of murdering her husband and stepson, was executed in Virginia on September 23, 2010. She was the first woman executed in the state in nearly 100 years.

(REUTERS/Virginia Department of Corrections/Handout)

William Bonin (left), a 33-year-old truck driver and registered sex offender, was accused of the 'torture' murders of at least 13 and possibly 21 young males, suspected victims of the so called 'Freeway Killer. He was executed in California on February 23, 1996.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department also said Vernon Butts (right) was an accomplice in at least six of the 21 murders.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, responsible for Boston Marathon bombing, was sentenced to death on May 15, 2015.

(Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist charged in a mass shooting at the U.S. Army post in Fort Hood, Texas, was sentenced to death on August 28, 2013.

(Ho New / Reuters)

Joseph E. Duncan III, a convicted murderer and sex offender, was sentenced to death on August 27, 2008.

 (Photo provided by Kootenai County Sheriff's Department via Getty Images)

Coy Wesbrook was executed in 2016. He fatally shot five people in 1997 with a hunting rifle in a killing spree launched when he found his ex-wife having sex with other men.

(REUTERS/Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Handout via Reuters)

Dylann Roof, the man convicted of murdering nine worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston was condemned to death by a federal jury on January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/Charleston County Sheriff's Office/Handout)

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Minutes after that shooting, a man opened fire several blocks away in a confrontation at a parking garage, Manley said. Bystanders tackled the shooter, he said.

Police initially believed the two shootings were related and that they were dealing with an "active shooter," but that was not the case, Manley said.

"From everything we can tell at this point through the initial investigation, these are two unrelated incidents," Manley told reporters.

The suspect who opened fire in the parking garage was transported to a hospital for injuries he suffered when bystanders subdued him, Manley said. There were no reports of anyone being struck by bullets in that incident.

The shootings in the Texas state capital follow several recent major acts of gun violence in the United States.

On June 12, a gunman who sympathized with Islamist extremist groups killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

On July 7, a U.S. military veteran shot and killed five police officers in Dallas in the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Just over a week later another gunman killed three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The attackers in all three incidents were killed by police.

Austin, whose downtown area is known for its lively music scene, has a population of more than 900,000. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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