2 victims dead after stabbing spree at mall in US state of Massachusetts, attacker shot dead

A man suspected of stabbing four people, two fatally, was shot dead by an off duty police officer in the Boston area.

NEW YORK (AFP) - An assailant stabbed at least six people, killing two, on Tuesday (May 11) at a home and a shopping mall in the US state of Massachusetts before an off-duty sheriff shot the suspect to death, police said.

The violence began after the suspect, identified as Arthur DaRosa, 28, crashed his car into a truck around 7pm local time in Taunton, south of Boston, around 6km from the mall, Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn III told reporters.

Entering a house, DaRosa stabbed two people, including an 80-year-old woman who died and her adult daughter who was under treatment for life-threatening injuries in the hospital, Mr Quinn said, without identifying the women.

DaRosa, of Taunton, then drove a car into the glass entrance at a Macy's department store at the city's Silver City Galleria, Massachusetts State Police said.

After assaulting people in the Macy's, he stabbed four more people at a restaurant in the mall, including a 56-year-old Taunton man who died, Mr Quinn said.

Witnesses interviewed by local television stations said the victims included a pregnant woman who had been stabbed in the stomach.

An off-duty Plymouth County sheriff's deputy shot and killed DaRosa at the restaurant, Mr Quinn said.

"But for the actions of the deputy sheriff, there may well have been other victims," he added.

Although DaRosa's motive remains under investigation, "we are aware of no nexus to terrorism", police spokesman Paul Sullivan said.

DaRosa did not appear to know any of the victims, officials said.

Taunton Police also responded to the stabbings.

"I heard shots and saw cops loading AR-15s and I ran for my life," one witness told CBS affiliate WBZ.

Another said shots rang out in Bertucci's restaurant at the shopping centre.