CINCINNATI, Ohio – At least three people were killed in a shooting Thursday at the Fifth Third Center in Cincinnati’s Fountain Square, and two others were injured, Cincinnati police Chief Eliot Isaac said.
The suspect is also dead, Isaac said. The chief later identified the shooter as Omar Perez, a 29-year-old man from the town of North Bend, Ohio. The gunman had a pistol and more than 200 rounds of ammunition, the chief said.
Investigators searched the gunman’s residence but there was no immediate indicator of motive.
Police finished securing the building just before 11 a.m. ET, the chief said.
The shooting began shortly after 9 a.m. The gunman entered a loading dock and opened fire before going into the lobby of the building, where three or four police officers engaged him, and gunfire was exchanged, Isaac said.
“This is not normal, and it shouldn’t be viewed as normal. This is abnormal. No other industrialized country has this level of active multiple shootings on a regular basis,” Mayor John Cranley said in a news conference. “I think there’s something deeply sick at work here.”
The University of Cincinnati Medical Center received victims with gunshot wounds, a woman and three men, said Kelly Martin, senior director of UC Health. Two died, one is in critical condition and one remains in serious condition, she said.
“I heard about eight gunshots, and I actually got on my knees. I kind of got down on the ground and then all the cops started coming,” witness James Walker told CNN affiliate WLWT. “I’m still shaking.”
Eric Kearney, president of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, was in a board meeting across the street from the bank. He did not hear the shots, he said, but he saw emergency responders wheeling out victims on stretchers.
Bank manager Greg Harshfield told CNN affiliate WXIX that he could hear the shooting unfold from an upper floor of the building.
“We did hear a gun shooting from the 29th floor,” he told the station. “We could quickly see there was a large police presence and could see them blocking Fountain Square. We knew immediately something was wrong. We’re a bit rattled.”
The chief said some of the victims were shot multiple times.
Streets and sidewalks around Fountain Square were closed.
“People in the immediate vicinity should remain on lockdown until further notice,” Cincinnati police said in a tweet Thursday morning.
Police earlier characterized the incident as an “active shooter/officer involved shooting incident” in a tweet but did not elaborate.
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene and are assisting Cincinnati police in their investigation, the bureaus said.
Fountain Square is a heavily trafficked landmark in the middle of the city. It is home to retail stores, business offices, hotels and eateries. The Fifth Third Center is a 30-story skyscraper that sits on the square.