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US rocked by three mass shootings on weekend

HAMPTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (AP) – Authorities in South Carolina are investigating a shooting at an entertainment venue on Sunday that wounded at least nine people. It was the second mass shooting in the state and the third in the nation over the weekend.

The shootings in South Carolina and one in Pittsburgh, in which two minors were killed on Sunday, also left at least 31 people wounded.

No one was reported killed in the violence at the venue in Hampton County, roughly 130 kilometres west of Charleston, according to an email from South Carolina’s State Law Enforcement Division, which is investigating the shooting. In Pittsburgh, two male youth were killed and at least eight people wounded when shots were fired during a party at a short-term rental property. The “vast majority” of the hundreds of people at the party were underage, the city’s Police Chief Scott Schubert told reporters. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the two victims as Jaiden Brown and Mathew Steffy-Ross, both 17.

Investigators believe there were multiple shooters, and Schubert said police were processing evidence at as many as eight separate crime scenes spanning a few blocks around the rental home.

The two shootings come just a day after gunfire erupted at a busy mall in the South Carolina state capital of Columbia, some 145 kilometres north of Sunday’s shooting. Nine people were shot, and five people sustained other kinds of injuries while trying to flee the scene at the Columbiana Centre, Columbia Police Chief W H “Skip” Holbrook said. The victims ranged in age from 15 to 73. None faced life-threatening injuries.

Law enforcement gather outside Columbiana Centre mall in Columbia, South Carolina following a shooting. PHOTO: AP

The only person arrested in the mall shooting so far is Jewayne M Price, 22, one of three people initially detained by law enforcement as a person of interest. Price’s attorney, Todd Rutherford, told news outlets on Sunday that his client fired a gun at the mall, but in self-defence. Rutherford said Price faces a charge of unlawfully carrying a pistol because he legally owned his gun but did not have a permit to carry a weapon.

Columbia police said on Twitter that a judge agreed on Sunday to let Price leave jail on a USD25,000 surety bond. He was to be on house arrest with an ankle monitor, police said.

“It was unprovoked by him. He called the police, turned himself in, turned over the firearm that was used in this, and gave a statement to the Columbia Police Department,” Rutherford said, according to WMBF-TV. “That is why he got a BND25,000 bond.”

Police said the judge will allow Price to travel from home to work during certain hours each day. Price is forbidden from contacting the victims and anyone else involved in the shooting.