A disgruntled federal employee fatally shot a supervisor and a union representative during a meeting in Inglewood on Wednesday and then shot himself in the head, authorities said.
The three men were in a U.S. Department of Agriculture district office, behind locked doors, when other workers heard shouting and then gunshots, said Inglewood Police Lt. Hampton Cantrell.
"The supervisor was counseling the employee, and the employee pulled out a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun," Cantrell said. "He fired bullets all over the place."
The employee fired all eight bullets in his magazine, reloaded and fired five more times, authorities said.
"It appears someone in the office was pleading not to shoot," Cantrell said. "But the shooting continued.
"The supervisor made it out of the office and took five to 10 steps before he collapsed," Cantrell said. "He had bullet wounds in his chest. He was alive when paramedics arrived."
After spraying the room with bullets, hitting the supervisor and the union representative, the employee turned the gun on himself.
"We found a note that indicated he may have filed a complaint with a federal agency--the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission," Cantrell said. "He had some problems on the job, but we don't know exactly what prompted the shooting."
The employee and the union representative were killed at the scene; the supervisor was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Police did not release the identities of the three employees--all of whom worked as U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors--because their family members had not been identified.
The shooting took place at about 3:15 p.m., at an agricultural inspection building on South La Cienega Boulevard near Century Boulevard. Uniformed inspectors who work at the site examine food and plants that are randomly selected from shipments that come into Los Angeles International Airport.
An employee called 911 and after Inglewood police responded, counselors and chaplains were summoned to console distraught employees.
A window of the office where the shooting took place faced La Cienega and, because detectives did not want to alter the crime scene, the blinds remained open. Detectives spent the afternoon studying the evidence and taking notes. One of the bodies remained slumped against the base of the window.
Inglewood police interviewed about 25 employees Wednesday. Because the shooting occurred at a federal office, the FBI joined the investigation.
As news of the shooting spread, a handful of relatives of employees began lining up outside the building. Zach Mirza, whose wife works as an inspector, heard about the shooting on the radio.
"I've been told my wife is OK," Mirza said. "But I didn't know until I got here."