Gunman kills at least 2 at Florida yoga studio

Police say two people have died at the hands of a gunman who opened fire inside a Florida yoga studio before killing himself.

Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo told reporters Friday night that the gunman shot six people and pistol-whipped another after walking into the studio, which is part of a small shopping centre in the state capital. 

The suspect then fatally shot himself, DeLeo said. Authorities have not identified the assailant or the victims. The conditions of the other victims are unclear.

Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo says police are asking for anyone who saw something unusual around the time of the shooting to contact authorities. (Steve Cannon/Associated Press)

DeLeo said police are asking for anyone who saw something unusual around the time of the shooting to contact police. He said the shooter acted alone and authorities are investigating possible motives. He declined to say what kind of gun was used.

"We're all very saddened and shocked by the events that occurred, but it's important that people understand that there is no immediate threat outside of what has already occurred this evening," DeLeo said.

'We just heard 'pow, pow, pow, pow'

Melissa Hutchinson said she helped treat a "profusely" bleeding man who rushed into a bar after the incident. She said three people from the studio ran in, and they were told there was an active shooter.

"It was a shocking moment something happened like this," Hutchinson said.

The people who came in were injured, including the bleeding man who was pistol-whipped while trying to stop the gunman. They told her the shooter kept coming in and out of the studio. When he loaded his gun, people started pounding the windows of the studio to warn people.

The yoga studio is part of a small Tallahassee shopping centre. It's also home to popular restaurants, a jewellery store, a framing shop, a hair salon and other businesses. (Steve Cannon/Associated Press)

City Commissioner Scott Maddox was on the scene. He said on Facebook, "In my public service career I have had to be on some bad scenes. This is the worst. Please pray."

Elle Welling said she was leaving a liquor store across the street from the shopping centre and saw at least three people loaded into ambulances.

"You don't think about this in Tallahassee and now you have to," said Welling, 26, who lives in the neighbourhood.

The plaza is home to popular restaurants, a jewlery store, a framing shop, a hair salon and other businesses.

A person is transported from the scene to an ambulance. (Tori Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via AP)

Erskin Wesson, 64, said he was eating dinner with his family at a restaurant located below the yoga studio when they heard the gunshots above them.

"We just heard 'pow, pow, pow, pow,"' Wesson said. "It sounded like a limb falling on a tin roof and rolling."

The restaurant's owner came by a short time later, asking if anyone was a doctor, Wesson said. His step-daughter is an emergency room nurse and helped paramedics for about an hour, he said.

'No act of gun violence is acceptable'

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, tweeted that he's breaking off the campaign trail to return to Tallahassee. He earlier appeared at a campaign event with former president Barack Obama.

"I'm deeply appreciative of law enforcement's quick response to the shooting at the yoga facility in Tallahassee today. No act of gun violence is acceptable. I'm in close communication with law enforcement officials and will be returning to Tallahassee tonight," Gillum tweeted.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, called DeLeo and the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to get details of the shooting.

"I will remain in constant communication with law enforcement. We have offered state assistance," Scott tweeted.

Tallahassee's crime and murder rate has been an issue in the governor's race, with Gillum's opponent, Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, calling the capital Florida's most crime-ridden city, a claim that is incorrect.

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