At least four people have been killed in a mass shooting at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky, police have said, adding that the suspected shooter has also been found dead.
The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) said there was no longer an “active aggressor threat” but urged people to continue to avoid the downtown Louisville, where Monday’s shooting occurred. At least eight people have been injured, including two officers, authorities said.
Police initially said five people were killed at the Old National Bank, but that tally may have included the gunman.
Deputy Police Chief Paul Humphrey said the “lone shooter” appears to be a former employee of the bank, and authorities are continuing to investigate.
He said police arrived at the scene at the Old National Bank minutes after receiving reports of the shooting around 8:30am (12:30 GMT) and exchanged gunfire with the suspect.
“We’re trying to confirm if that suspect died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound or was killed by officers at this time,” Humphrey said.
“This is awful,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear told reporters at a news briefing, saying that two of his friends were amongst the victims.
Holding back tears, Beshear urged compassion for survivors. “Our bodies and our minds are not meant to go through these types of tragedies… There are a lot of people that are hurting today,” he said.
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg vowed that the city will come together to prevent “horrific acts of gun violence from continuing”.
“We will find ways to love and support one another and the families and friends who have been directly impacted by these acts of gun violence,” Greenberg said.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky, said he was “devastated” by news of the shooting.
“We send our prayers to the victims, their families, and the city of Louisville as we await more information,” McConnell said in a tweet.
Video from the scene showed officers and ambulances in the street. The FBI said it also sent agents to the scene.
Jim Ryan, the Old National Bank CEO, said the safety of employees and people the bank serves at its branches is “paramount”.
“As we await more details, we are deploying employee assistance support and keeping everyone affected by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers,” Ryan said in a statement.
The incident in Louisville, a city of 630,00 people in northern Kentucky is the latest mass shooting in the United States, which has been struggling to curb gun violence.
Late last month, a shooter killed three children and three adults at a school in Nashville, Tennessee.
Gun Violence Archives, a website that tracks shootings in the US, has reported 145 mass shootings – incidents with four or more casualties – in the country this year so far.
President Joe Biden has been urging lawmakers to enact an assault weapons ban, but gun reform is a politically contentious issue in the US.
Republicans have long rejected stricter gun control measures, arguing that it violates the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which they say protects citizens’ right to bear arms.
Several Democrats invoked the Louisville shooting on Monday to urge reforming gun laws in the US.
Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called for “meaningful action” against gun violence.
“This kind of gun violence is a uniquely American epidemic,” Jayapal said in a social media post.__Al Jazeera