A gunman opened fire in a downtown bank in the US city of Cincinnati, killing three people and wounding five others.
Police received an emergency call at 9:10am today Thursday and several officers responded to the active-shooter situation.
The Cincinatti Police Department said in a tweet they were investigating an “active shooter/officer involved shooting” at the Fifth Third Bank, located in the city’s Fountain Square, a busy meeting place.
Cincinatti Police Chief Elliot Isaac told reporters the shooter opened fire at the loading dock of the building before entering the bank’s lobby where he continued his rampage.
Isaac was quoted as saying there “was an exchange of gunfire between our officers and the suspect”. He was unable to confirm whether the shooter was killed by police or ended his own life.
The shooter’s identity or motive were not released.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said the gunman was “actively shooting innocent victims” and it was a “horrific” scene. He offered “thoughts and prayers” to the victims’ families.
Cranley said the attack could have been “much worse” had it not been for the quick response of police officers. “Police were there within seconds, literally,” he said.
Streets around Fountain Square were closed Thursday morning and the area cordoned off. The situation appeared to be under control shortly before 10am [14:00 GMT].
“There was a senseless act of gun violence on the streets of Cincinnati this morning,” Ohio Governor John Kasich said on Twitter.
One unnamed eyewitness, a construction worker, told WLWT television he heard at least six gunshots before police arrived.
“I just seen people running out of the building,” he said. “There’s guys with suits laying on the ground, hiding behind big flower pots.”
Controversy over mass shootings has been a motivation for growing protests in the United States over the past year.
There have been more than 500 deadly incidents with weapons in the US in 2018, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a website that tracks gun-related attacks.
A rampage in February at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 people – mostly minors – spurred demonstrations across the country.
Leaders of the movement, including survivors of the Parkland shooting, have called on politicians to stop offering “thoughts and prayers” instead of enacting stricter gun control.