Man charged with two murders in California shooting rampage

By Kevin Murphy

(Reuters) - A man suspected of going on a shooting rampage in Banning, California was charged on Sunday with two counts of first degree murder and four other violent offenses, police said.

James Paul Diaz, 34, is suspected of shooting at a series of people and vehicles starting shortly before noon on Saturday, Banning police said in a news release. They did not give a motive.

Diaz is suspected of first shooting a male driver to death in a car and causing minor injuries to a passenger, police said. Seven minutes later, police responded to a call that someone shot at a woman in another car, causing her minor injuries from broken glass.

Ten minutes later, a man was assaulted with fists and an unknown blunt instrument as he sat inside his parked vehicle, police said.

Twenty minutes later, police responded to a report that a car had crashed into a building wall. A man found dead inside had suffered gunshot wounds, police said.

A few minutes later, in nearby Beaumont, California, police were alerted that a man was knocking on residence doors and they then learned that a man was breaking a window and a door handle of an occupied vehicle, police said.

Beaumont police officers stopped a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle of the suspect in the shootings and other offenses. He was taken into custody and a weapon was found inside the vehicle, police said.

Diaz was booked into jail and in addition to murder he is charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a person, shooting at a person from a vehicle, shooting at an inhabited vehicle and attempted murder, police said.

Banning is a community of about 30,000 people about 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy and Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Mo.; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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