Three Students Shot in Florida University Library

(Reuters) – Three students were shot and wounded when a gunman opened fire inside the main Florida State University library early on Thursday, and campus police shot the suspect dead, officials said.

Officers confronted the attacker soon after 12:30 a.m. near the entrance to Florida State’s Strozier Library, where hundreds of students were studying for exams.

Police said they ordered him to drop his weapon, then shot when he fired on them in the latest of a string of shootings on U.S. campuses.

Authorities have not released the identity of the male shooter or the names of the three students who were shot. One was treated at the scene for a graze wound and released, and two were taken to a local hospital, Tallahassee police said.

One victim was in critical condition, and the other was stable, said a spokeswoman at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare hospital.

“The three students who have been injured are our highest priority,” FSU President John Thrasher said in a statement. He said campus security was increased and classes were canceled on Thursday.

Police were investigating the shooter’s motive but believed there were no further threats to the campus in Tallahassee. They said the gunman acted alone.

A large area around the library was roped off as a crime scene, with police cars on surrounding streets. The shooting occurred just over a mile (1.6 km) from the Florida capitol.

Graduate student Alexandra Lauren told CNN that she was in the library at the time of the shooting.

“We heard the gunshots and then it was in a matter of seconds the entire first floor just seemed to go into chaos,” Lauren said, her voice wavering.

“It was very scary. I’m just more heartbroken than anything else. FSU means a lot to me.”

Five officers involved were placed on administrative leave.

Florida State University has about 40,000 students and is well known nationally for the strength of its football team and academics.

The shooting comes amid heightened concerns about safety at U.S. schools and a prolonged, heated debate about gun control.

In September, a student at Indiana State University was arrested after shooting another student inside a residence hall. In June, a gunman armed with a shotgun opened fire at a small Christian college in Seattle, killing one person and wounding two others.

A 15-year-old gunman killed four other students in the cafeteria of a Seattle-area high school before turning the gun on himself last month.

(Florida State University Shooting — writing by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; editing by W Simon, Bill Trott and Jim Loney)