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Killing rampage ends in surrender of gunman

The Washington State Patrol says six people are dead and two are wounded after a shooting rampage.
Image: Washington shooting rampage
Police chase a metallic tan GMC pickup truck as it leaves Interstate 5 in Mount Vernon, Wash., on Tuesday. A state trooper was shot trying to stop the driver, who is suspected in six killings.Scott Terrell / Skagit Valley Herald via AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A shooting rampage in which six people were killed in a series of confrontations from a tiny town to the state's busiest highway ended with the surrender of a troubled man who was recently released from jail, authorities said.

The man's mother described him as "desperately mentally ill," said he had been living in the woods and that a Skagit County sheriff's deputy he's accused of killing had tried to help the family for years.

State Department of Corrections officials identified the gunman in Tuesday's deadly spree as Isaac Zamora, 28, who had just served a six-month jail sentence for drug possession in Skagit County, in northwest Washington. Less than three hours after the violence began, Zamora surrendered at a sheriff's office. Two people were wounded.

Investigators had not yet determined why Zamora went on the rampage, Trooper Keith Leary said Wednesday.

"It's too early to tell what took place at each scene," Leary.

There are eight crime scenes, which are being investigated by more than 100 people from 15  agencies, he said.

Zamora's mother said she had tried repeatedly to get help for her mentally ill son.

"We're so devastated for the families," Dennise Zamora told The Associated Press by telephone. "I wish it would have been him or me that was killed. That's how deeply I feel about it."

Mother: Son had lived in woods
She told The Seattle Times that her son had lived in the woods off and on for years, was unaware of his mental illness and resisted all efforts to get him to accept treatment. The nature of his illness was not immediately clear.

"There are a lot of answers that are just not available right now," Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said at a news conference late Tuesday.

The six who died included Skagit County Sheriff's Deputy Anne Jackson, 40, who was shot while responding to a call from Dennise Zamora. The mother told The Times she called Jackson after seeing her son going in and out of neighbors' homes.

The names of other victims had not been released as of Wednesday morning.

The dead were found at multiple crime scenes. Jackson and a second person were killed at the same location near the small town of Alger, two construction workers were found shot nearby and a body was found a few houses away, Leary said.

From the Alger area, the armed man raced south on Interstate 5 at speeds in excess of 90 mph, with troopers, sheriff's deputies and Mount Vernon police in pursuit, Leary said. It was not immediately clear if Zamora had been shooting as he drove, or if he had pulled over and started firing.

"Some of these are just random shootings," Leary said.

A civilian motorist was killed along I-5 near a rest stop, Leary said.

Dennise Zamora described Jackson as a sympathetic figure who had tried to help the family in the past.

"She was very gracious," she said. "She knew exactly what we were going through, said her brother was going through some similar stuff."

Trooper shot trying to stop shooter
At least two others were wounded, including a Washington State Patrol trooper shot while trying to stop the shooter on the freeway, the State Patrol said. A motorcyclist was shot in the arm at a Shell gas station.

The first shootings were reported shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday and the suspect was in custody by about 4:30 p.m. He turned himself in at the Skagit County Sheriff's Office.

The wounded trooper drove himself to a hospital and was released after treatment. He was identified as Trooper Troy Giddings. The other victims were not immediately identified.

Since his Aug. 6 release, Zamora had reported as ordered to corrections officials and had passed drug and alcohol screenings, Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail said.

"I want to extend our profound sorrow and heartfelt sympathy for the victims of the shootings," Vail said. "This is a senseless loss of the lives of innocent citizens and a member of our law-enforcement family."

Gov. Chris Gregoire called for an independent third-party review to be led by the head of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and a prosecutor to be appointed by the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

"I will be directing them to look into how this case was handled and provide an initial report to me within 10 days," Gregoire said late Tuesday night.

Hours after the shootings, a group of residents gathered at the Alger Bar and Grill.

"It's devastating for this town," Steve Thomas said, "The people here are very law enforcement-friendly. It's very somber."