HUGO, Okla. (AP) _ An angry ex-convict bought an assault rifle from a pawn shop and opened fire in a store parking lot, killing two people before driving down a dead-end road to end his own life.
David Mack Flinn, 39, remained a mystery today as police struggled to find a motive in the shootings, which injured three others Friday in this southeastern Oklahoma town of 6,000.
Detectives from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation searched Flinn’s trailer home in neighboring Grant and interviewed relatives for clues to the private, violent vendetta of the single, unemployed man.
This is what they know:
Hours before the 11:14 a.m. shootings, Flinn lodged a complaint about a neighbor shooting his dog.
″I’ll prosecute this myself,″ Flinn told a deputy before storming out of the sheriff’s office. A Choctaw County Sheriff’s deputy who checked out the complaint found no dog and no sign of violence at Flinn’s house.
Flinn’s next stop was a pawn shop, where he lied about his string of theft and burglary convictions to buy the .223-caliber semiautomatic assault rifle and ammunition.
About two hours later, Luke Sheehan, 52, and Mary Sheehan, 49, were killed as they walked out of Wal-Mart, the bureau said.
″It was just bam, bam, bam,″ said Mary Lou Wilkins, who works in the shopping center. ″I thought, this is not for real. And then I saw people ducking and running.
″There was fire coming out of his gun. Then he took off and there were people lying there on the ground.″
Bullets injured two people, including a woman hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg and a woman who was grazed by a bullet and also was cut by flying glass from the shattered storefront; a third victim was injured by glass.
″We’re very fortunate that more people aren’t dead,″ Hugo Police Chief Roylia Akins told the Tulsa World. ″The store was pretty well packed. We thank God it was only two.″
Minutes later, Flinn was found dead in his truck on a dirt road a few miles away, said the bureau. Three guns and ammunition were in his truck. Police found another rifle in Flinn’s home.
Investigators initially said the Sheehans were his intended victims, but later backed away from that.
″Basically this is just a random shooting,″ Assistant District Attorney Clark LeForce said.
Flinn’s rap sheet lists a string of burglary and theft convictions in Pamona, Calif., and Dallas between 1976 and 1987. He also pleaded guilty in 1979 to assault with a deadly weapon in San Bernadino, Calif., records show.
″People are alarmed,″ said Judy Wilson of the Hugo Chamber of Commerce, characterizing the shooting as ″something that happens in large towns.″
But Boise, Idaho, and Chelsea, Mich., were the scenes of shootings Thursday that killed a total of three people.
On Tuesday, four people were killed at a Denver pizza parlor by a disgruntled ex-employee.
On Dec. 7, a gunman walked through a Long Island Rail Road commuter train outside New York City and shot people at random. Six people died. Authorities said the suspect, a black Jamaican immigrant, was driven by racial hatred.