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Gunman kills two in Oregon shopping mall shootings

A least two people were killed when a gunman wearing a mask opened fire at shopping mall in the US state of Oregon. Local police said the shooter then turned the gun on himself.

The gunman fired opened fire on Christmas shoppers at the packed Clackamas Town Centre shopping center, just south of Portland, late on Tuesday afternoon.

"I can confirm that we believe at this point that there was one and only one shooter involved and that that shooter is deceased," Clackamas County Sheriff's spokesman Lieutenant James Rhodes said. "In addition to that, we have at least one patient who was taken from the mall with a traumatic injury and at least two that were deceased in addition to the shooter."

The assailant had been wearing a hockey mask and was shouting "I am the shooter," as he carried out the attack, according to witnesses. Rhodes confirmed that the gunman had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Shoppers were reported to have hidden in the back rooms of shops as gun shots were heard.

According to the local newspaper Oregonian, the man may have been wearing body armor. It cited early reports that the man had been carrying an AR-15 rifle, a civilian, semi-automatic version of the more powerful fully automatic M-16 military version.

The incident marked the latest in a series this year, including the killing of 12 people at a midnight screening of the movie "The Dark Knight Rises" in Colorado.

rc/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)