A gunman has killed two people and wounded five others at a yoga studio in Florida’s capital of Tallahassee before killing himself.
The city’s police chief Michael DeLeo told reporters the man shot six people and pistol-whipped another after walking into the studio, which is part of a small Tallahassee shopping centre.
According to local media reports, an unidentified “tall man with a beard” was inside the Hot Yoga studio at the Bar and Betton restaurant in the shopping complex when he opened fire on Saturday morning (Friday night local time).
The man continued to walk in and out of the studio to reload his gun as people frantically pounded the windows to warn others.
“We’re all very saddened and shocked by the events that occurred, but it’s important that people understand that there is no immediate threat outside of what has already occurred this evening,” Chief DeLeo said.
Tallahassee Democrat newspaper said the gunman then turned the gun on himself after injuring several people, one suffering head injuries after being “pistol-whipped” when he attempted to stop the shooter.
Patron Alex Redding told the newspaper he was in the bar when a woman ran in “hyperventilating” followed by a man with blood on his head.
Mr Redding said “two to three” other people ran into the bar asking for help, saying a man inside the yoga studio was “acting strange and began shooting during the class”.
Melissa Hutchinson said she helped treat a “profusely” bleeding man who rushed into a bar after the incident. She said three people from the studio ran in, and they were told there was an active shooter.
“It was a shocking moment something happened like this,” Ms Hutchinson said.
Democratic nominee for Governor of Florida and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who had earlier been with former president Barack Obama, immediately interrupted his campaign, taking to Twitter to thank local law enforcement’s quick response.
I’m deeply appreciative of law enforcement's quick response to the shooting at the yoga facility in Tallahassee today. No act of gun violence is acceptable. I'm in close communication with law enforcement officials and will be returning to Tallahassee tonight.
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) November 2, 2018
One local resident Breanna Raspopovich posted on Twitter: “This evening Tallahassee Hot Yoga had a gunman shoot during the class. I was suppose to be in that class”.
City Commissioner Scott Maddox was on the scene. He said on Facebook: “In my public service career I have had to be on some bad scenes. This is the worst. Please pray.”
Police are investigating a shooting at the Bar at Betton complex. Hearing there was a shooting at the Hot Yoga studio upstairs pic.twitter.com/OOqgrvoyxN
— Karl ☠️Print's Not Dead☠️ Etters (@KarlEtters) November 2, 2018
Erskin Wesson, 64, said he was eating dinner with his family at a restaurant located below the yoga studio when they heard the gunshots above them. ”We just heard ‘pow, pow, pow, pow,”‘ Wesson said.
“It sounded like a limb falling on a tin roof and rolling.” The restaurant’s owner came by a short time later, asking if anyone was a doctor, Wesson said.
His step-daughter is an emergency room nurse and helped paramedics for about an hour, he said.
There have now been 304 mass shootings in the US so far in 2018, according to Gun Violence Archive.