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Reuters

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

Officers confronted the attacker outside Florida State University’s Strozier Library soon after midnight, ordered him to drop his weapon, then shot him when he fired on them, police said.

“This person for whatever reason produced a handgun and then began shooting students in the library,” Florida State University Police Chief David Perry told reporters at a morning news conference.

Officers found three victims with gunshot wounds, Tallahassee Police spokesman David Northway said. One was treated on scene for a graze wound and was released, and two were taken to a local hospital.

A spokeswoman at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare hospital said one victim was in critical condition and the other was stable.

“The three students who have been injured are our highest priority,” FSU President John Thrasher said in a statement. He said campus security will be heightened on Thursday, when classes have been canceled.

Police estimated the library was packed with between 300 and 400 students at the time, many studying for upcoming final exams.

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.”

Further details on the identities of the shooter and the victims were not immediately released. Police said the gunman acted alone and no further threat was posed to the campus.

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

Police were investigating the shooter’s motive.

“We are too frequently and too often waking up to incidences like this around the country,” Tallahassee Mayor-elect Andrew Gillum said at the news conference.

It was the latest in a series of shootings in schools and colleges prompting debate about gun control in the United States.

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 on 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 in himself last month.

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