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At least 7 dead in Santa Barbara shooting rampage

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At least seven people were killed, and seven more were wounded in a string of shootings carried out by a lone gunman on Friday night, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown confirmed at a news conference this morning.

The gunman, who investigators believe acted alone, drove a black BMW through the Isla Vista neighborhood, a student enclave located near the University of California, Santa Barbara, reported The Associated Press. The shootings took place at several locations, resulting in at least nine crime scenes, officials said. Deputies exchanged gunfire with the suspect, and he is one of the seven people killed in the tragedy; Brown said he did not know whether the gunman had been killed by a self-inflicted wound or as a result of the gunfire exchange with deputies.

"This incident appears to be a mass murder situation," Brown said in the news conference covered by Reuters. "We have obtained and are currently analyzing both written and videotaped evidence that suggests this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder."

UPDATE: Via The Washington Post, UC Santa Barbara has confirmed that at least some of those injured in the shooting were students at the university: