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US teen kills 3 people in New Mexico town before being gunned down by police

File photo of a handgun laid on a United States' flag

An 18-year-old gunman has fatally shot three people in a town in the US state of New Mexico before being gunned down by police.

The incident took place in the town of Farmington in northwestern New Mexico on Monday, leaving several other people wounded, including two police officers.

Officers responding to the incident found "a chaotic scene where a male subject was actively firing upon individuals in that neighborhood," said Baric Crum, deputy chief of operations for the Farmington Police Department.

Four officers confronted the subject and "were able to stop his actions," he said, adding, "The suspect is deceased, but prior to that, we know that three civilians were killed by this person's actions."

The law enforcement official put the number of the wounded at nine, excluding the suspect, but it was not immediately clear whether that tally included the three fatalities.

The gunman was believed to have acted alone, police said without providing any information about the three people killed or the motive behind the shooting.

The gun violence prompted security lockdowns at several public schools in Farmington, a town of about 46,000 residents.

"This serves as yet another reminder of how gun violence destroys lives in our state and our country every single day," New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

Farmington also was the scene of a deadly high school shooting in December 2017 in which a gunman killed two students before taking his own life.

Monday's incident came as at least 225 mass shootings have been recorded in the United States this year alone.

According to the nonprofit research group, Gun Violence Archive, more than 14,600 Americans, including hundreds of children and teenagers, have been killed in gun-related violence since the beginning of 2023.

The victims included 8,382 people who committed suicide using firearms and 6,288 others who died in homicides, murders, accidental discharges, and defensive gun use.

The report said 93 children, aged up to 11 years old, lost their lives in those incidents in addition to 522 teens, aged between 12 and 17.

A Gallup poll from October 2022 showed that a 57% majority of all Americans was in favor of stricter laws covering the sales of firearms, as politicians remain deadlocked on this issue.

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