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4 dead, including gunman, in Cincinnati bank shooting

A gunman opened fire inside a bank in downtown Cincinnati on Thursday morning, killing at least three people and wounding others before being shot and killed by police, authorities said.

Shooter opened fire early Thursday morning at downtown building

Emergency personnel and police responded to a shooting at a bank in downtown Cincinnati on Thursday. (John Minchillo/Associated Press)

A gunman opened fire inside a bank in downtown Cincinnati on Thursday morning, killing at least three people and wounding others before being shot and killed by police, authorities said.

Police said the shooter began firing inside a loading dock at the Fifth Third Bank near Fountain Square, a popular gathering spot in the city, before entering the lobby where he exchanged fire with law enforcement.

"He was actively shooting innocent victims, it appears, and our officers were able to kill him and stop the threat very quickly," Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said at a news conference.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac said he could not confirm local media reports that the gunman was a disgruntled employee of the bank, and said he had no information that the victims were targeted. No police officers were hurt, Isaac said.

Witnesses said more than a dozen shots were fired.

Chaotic scene

Ebony Ginyard, who works at a Dunkin' Donuts in Fountain Square, which houses a number of stores and restaurants, said she and other workers and customers dropped to the floor when the shooting started.

"All he had to is look over the counter at us and we would have been shot," Ginyard told reporters.

One onlooker, Leonard Cain, told a newspaper he had been about to enter the bank when someone warned him about the shooting. Cain said he then saw a woman walking into the bank, and that people tried to get her attention, but she was wearing headphones and did not hear them.

A spokesperson for the University of Cincinnati Medical​ Center said three men and one woman were being treated at the hospital for gunshot wounds. (John Minchillo/Associated Press)

"She walked in the door and he shot her," Cain told the Cincinnati Enquirer, adding that he heard up to 15 shots fired.

The Enquirer said some customers were hiding inside a bathroom at the bank, and that one gunshot victim was found inside a nearby ice cream shop.

Another witness, Michael Richardson, who works in the Fifth Third Bank building, told the newspaper he was outside smoking a cigarette when he heard gunshots.

'A senseless act'

"I looked behind me and saw the guy he shot and then he shot again. After that I started running," he told the Enquirer.

Isaac told reporters the gunman's weapon was recovered, but did not say what type of firearm he used.

The police chief said he could not say whether the gunman shot himself in addition to being shot by gunfire from "at least three or four" police officers.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich called the shooting "a senseless act of gun violence" on Twitter and said state authorities would provide any necessary resources to local police.

A spokesperson for the University of Cincinnati Medical​ Center said three men and one woman were treated there for gunshot wounds. Two of them died, one is in critical condition, and one was in serious condition, the spokesperson said.

The area around the bank was closed to pedestrians after the shooting. Police said people inside the 30-storey Fifth Third​ Center skyscraper were being held in place but would be able to leave the building soon.

Nearly three hours after the shooting, several streets in downtown Cincinnati remained closed to traffic.

"This is not normal, and it shouldn't be viewed as normal," the mayor told reporters, adding that the United States is the only industrialized nation with frequent active shooting incidents. "We as a country have to deal with it," Cranley said.