A gunman murdered his wife and four other people in a series of shootings before taking his own life as police closed in on him.
The massacre began when the husband and wife went to a haulage company in Bakersfield, California, where he confronted and then shot and killed a man, said police.
The husband then turned the gun on his spouse, killing her, and chased another man from the business before gunning him down in front of a nearby shop.
He left that scene and killed two men at a home before carjacking a mother and child.
The mass shooting spree lasted 10-15 minutes and it came to an end when the man killed himself as he was confronted by a police officer.
After carjacking the mother and child, the man drove to a motorway, where the officer spotted him.
The man then pulled over and shot himself as the officer confronted him at gunpoint.
In the aftermath, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood offered a sobering assessment of Wednesday’s carnage, telling reporters: "This is the new normal, if you look across the country.
"Six people lost their lives in a very short period of time."
He said detectives were working to determine what led to the killings, but pointed out that "obviously these are not random shootings".
The sheriff added: "There was some type of situation that caused the husband to be extremely upset."
The mother and child were not harmed when the man stole their vehicle.
Police recovered a handgun that they believe was used in the shootings.
Officers were carrying out investigations at five different crime scenes in Bakersfield, a city about 90 miles north of Los Angeles.
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