Police Identify Gunman As Member Of Chinese Army

BEIJING - The gunman who killed nine people and wounded 40 in a shooting rampage on a major Beijing thoroughfare was an army first lieutenant, police said today.

The gunman, identified as Tian Mingjian, had been disciplined for beating another soldier, the official Xinhua news agency said, quoting a senior police officer.

Yesterday's shooting rampage was shocking in a country where the incidence of violent crime is small compared with that of the United States'. It began in the Beijing suburb of Tongxian, where the gunman commandeered a vehicle and headed toward the center of Beijing, said the Hong Kong China News Agency, regarded as a mouthpiece for the Chinese government.

The report said police blocked the gunman's route as he neared the Second Ring Road, a major thoroughfare near an apartment compound for foreign diplomats and journalists. He then abandoned the vehicle and ran down the ring road, firing an automatic rifle.

After a 20-minute gun battle, police killed the gunman, the report said.

Among those killed was an Iranian diplomat.

Iran said today it would send a team of investigators to investigate the shootings.