Pasadena Police Chief Phillip L. Sanchez said a gunman chased two people down North Summit Avenue, shooting both, one of whom died.
Using a semiautomatic rifle, the gunman then shot and killed a neighbor in a nearby driveway.
"It appeared that he approached the house to see what was going on. He turned around and ran and was struck by gunfire," said Deputy Chief Darryl Qualls said of the neighbor.
Information on the two other people who were shot was not reported.
The gunman barricaded himself inside a home on the street and negotiated a surrender with police. At one point the gunman opened fire on police, though no officers were injured.
John Izeal Smith, 35, was arrested and charged with murder.
Sanchez believes the suspected shooter and the victims had a landlord-tenant relationship.