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Page last updated at 20:54 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 21:54 UK

US gym gunman's 'internet plans'

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Several killed in US gym shooting

A 48-year-old US man who opened fire in a Pennsylvania gym, killing three women and himself, appeared to have written about his plans for the attack.

A website linked to George Sodini described, over a nine-month period, his intentions to carry out a shooting.

The author wrote about purchasing guns and appeared to chide himself for lacking courage to complete his plan.

Authorities were unable to confirm if the website, which has now been taken down, belonged to Sodini.

One entry, dated 6 January 2009, read: "It is 8:45PM: I chickened out! I brought the loaded guns, everything. Hell!"

Sodini also injured 10 people when he opened fire with a pair of guns during a women's exercise class at a branch of LA Fitness in the town of Bridgeville, near Pittsburgh.

Eyewitnesses have described how the gunfire seemed like flashes in the dark after Sodini turned out the lights on entering the class, which was being attended by about 30 women.

The victims were named by authorities as 46-year-old Heidi Overmier, Elizabeth Gannon, 49, and Jody Billingsley, 38.

'No control'

Sodini appeared to have planned the attack since at least November 2008, the Associated Press reports.

George Sodini
George Sodini lamented his lack of friends or lovers

Other entries on the blog described struggles with alcoholism and an inability to form relationships with women.

"The biggest problem of all is not having relationships or friends, but not being able to achieve and acquire what I desire in those or many other areas," a recent entry, dated 2 August, reads.

"Everything stays the same regardless of the effert [sic] I put in. If I had control over my life then I would be happier. But for the past 30 years, I have not."

Another complains: "Women just don't like me. There are 30 million desirable women in the US (my estimate) and I cannot find one."

The page ends with the words "Death Lives!".

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said the attack appeared pre-meditated: "He did not say anything. He walked right into the room where the shootings occurred as if he knew exactly where he was going."

He said police would be seeking to establish whether anyone had read the website early enough to try to stop the shooting.

'Senseless act'

Stacey Falk, 26, who was in the class, described the panic as women in the room realised what was happening.

"All of us girls were just ducking behind each other and it was just, you know, I was behind a girl, one of the girls in front to get hit," she told a local TV station.

FROM BBC WORLD SERVICE

Others said they saw several women bleeding from bullet wounds to the legs, back and shoulder.

Loretta Moss said she tried to help one woman who was shot in the leg.

"She was screaming, 'It's burning, just please call the ambulance'," Ms Moss said.

One man who was in the gym at the time of the shooting said people ran into the complex bleeding.

"One lady was shot in the leg, one lady was shot in the shoulder. We started picking her up and dragging her out," Richard Walker said.

The gym management said in a statement: "Each of us in the LA Fitness family are shocked and saddened by the senseless acts of violence that took place."



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Three shot dead by US gym gunman
05 Aug 09 |  Americas

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