In Charleston, West Virginia, a woman fatally shot a man who opened fire on a throng of people with a semi-automatic rifle.
Dennis Butler, a 37-year-old with a long criminal background, was shot and died after he targeted a group of about 40 people at a birthday party.
The woman’s prompt action, according to police spokesman Tony Hazelett, saved lives and may have stopped a mass shooting.
It comes after a school massacre in Texas sparked a national debate about guns.
Butler had been through the neighborhood earlier in the evening on Wednesday when he was told to slow down because youngsters were playing.
He returned equipped with an AR-15-style rifle and opened fire on the birthday-graduation party outside the city apartment complex from the safety of his truck.
Mr Hazelett told a news conference that the woman who fired back did not have any law enforcement background. She has not been
“She’s just a member of the community who was carrying her weapon lawfully,” he said.
“And instead of running from the threat she engaged with the threat and saved several lives.”
The woman remained at the scene after the shooting, and is co-operating with investigators.
Charges will not be filed against her, police added.
Butler was found dead at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds, police said.
Mr Hazelett said it is not yet clear how Butler obtained the weapon – which he was not legally allowed to carry as a convicted felon.
The shooting comes after a teenage gunman killed 21 people at a Texas primary school with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that had
been purchased legally.
The attack, America’s worst school shooting in a decade, reignited the debate over private gun ownership, which is enshrined in the US