Image: Police outside Denny's
Michael A. Mariant  /  AP
Police officers prepare to go into a Denny's restaurant in Pismo Beach, Calif., on Wednesday following a shooting inside.
updated 3/15/2006 8:24:23 PM ET 2006-03-16T01:24:23

A gunman opened fire inside a Denny’s restaurant during lunch hour Wednesday, killing two people and wounding two before taking his own life, police said.

As many as 15 people were inside the restaurant at the time, authorities said. Many fled or hid in bathrooms for safety.

“The witnesses described him as coming in with a dazed look on his face, then they said he started shooting,” police Chief Joe Cortez said.

The two wounded were in good condition and expected to be released from a hospital, authorities said. Two of the dead were in their 50s or 60s, while the third was 40 or older.

Cortez said a witness led authorities to believe there could be a motive unrelated to the restaurant or its employees, but he declined to give details.

The man, armed with a semiautomatic handgun and a revolver, began shooting within a few steps of the restaurant’s front door, the chief said. It was unclear how many shots he fired.

Authorities were trying to determine whether the gunman had a history of mental illness or whether there were drugs or alcohol in his system, Cortez said.

The names of the gunman and the victims were not immediately released.

Denny’s said it was cooperating with police.

“We are shocked and saddened by this tragic accident,” the restaurant chain said in a statement. “This appears to be a random act of violence.”

Pismo Beach is in San Luis Obispo County, a 3½-hour drive northwest of Los Angeles.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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