CINCINNATI (WASHINGTON POST) - A gunman entered a downtown Cincinnati skyscraper through a loading dock on Thursday morning (Sept 6) and then opened fire in the lobby, killing three people and injuring five others before police officers shot and killed him.
Police said the shooting took place at the beginning of the work day inside the Fifth Third Bank building, a 30-storey tower that sits above bustling Fountain Square a few blocks from Great American Ball Park and the riverfront along the Ohio River.
Cincinnati police chief Eliot Isaac called the rampage “very horrific,” though police said the circumstances surrounding the violence and a potential motive are thus far elusive.
“These are things we see happening across the country, and we all have to be vigilant and prepared to deal with these situations,” Isaac said.
The area around the skyscraper was shut down until about 9.15am (9pm Singapore time), and police found victims in and around 511 Walnut St, including one who was severely wounded and ended up at an ice cream shop steps from the building.
Witnesses said they heard volleys of gunfire and one said that a woman was shot as she entered the bank building’s lobby.
There were people screaming “shooter, run, leave,” in Fountain Square, a park that often hosts concerts, dancing, and food trucks.https://twitter.com/RebekahWorsham/status/1037695312624803840
One witness, Leonard Cain, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he was going inside the bank when someone yelled that he shouldn’t because of the shooting. He said a woman also was walking into the bank at the same time, but she had headphones on and apparently couldn’t hear their warnings.
“She walked in the door and he shot her,” Cain told The Enquirer, saying that he heard up to 15 shots fired.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said the gunman appeared to be actively shooting at random when officers confronted him, and he said the officers “were able to kill him and stop the threat.”
Police have not yet publicly identified the shooter.
Cranley said the shooting “could have been much, much worse” if not for an immediate police response.
Bank manager Greg Harshfield, who on the 29th floor of the building when the shooting began, said that he heard multiple shots and saw police arrive almost immediately.
“We could see there was a large police presence that seemed to come quickly and could see them blocking Fountain Square,” Harshfield told reporters. “We knew immediately something was wrong. We’re of course rattled.”
Television footage showed bodies being carried out on stretchers and police surrounding the area around the Fifth Third Centre skyscraper, which is the bank’s corporate headquarters.
Three men and one woman were transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre, hospital officials said. One has died, two are in critical condition and one is in serious condition. Each had gunshot wounds, officials said.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officials arrived on the scene to sweep the building, ATF spokeswoman Suzanne Dabkowski said.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Cranley said. “This is not normal, and it shouldn’t be viewed as normal. This is abnormal. No other industrialised country has this level of active multiple shooting on a regular basis… I think there’s something deeply sick at work here, and we as a country have got to deal with it.”