UPDATE Sept. 7, 5:25 p.m.: The suspected shooter has been identified as 29-year-old Omar Santa Perez, who died in a gun battle with police.
Police officials said Perez used a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, which he owned legally, and came equipped with multiple magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Federal investigators joined local police in searching Perez’s apartment in North Bend, less than 16 miles from Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot. K Isaac said that they haven’t found evidence that Perez was connected to a terrorist group, but noted that the investigation is just hours old. “There’s a possibility there are some mental health issues involved,” he said.
At least four people are dead and five more injured after a gunman opened fire at the peak of rush hour in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, Thursday morning. The suspect was shot and killed after a gun battle with police.
Cincinnati police said they responded to a 911 call at shortly after 9 a.m. of shots fired around the Fifth Third Center in the Fountain Square area of the city. Several officers engaged the shooter, who was killed in gunfire.
“There were gunshots exchanged,” Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac told reporters. “At this point the shooter is deceased.” Officials are waiting to notify the shooter’s next of kin before releasing their identity.
Local news reporter Perry Schaible wrote on Twitter that witnesses described the shooter as “dressed in business casual with a briefcase.”
Isaac said the suspect entered the loading dock of the Fifth Third Bank building, a skyscraper, and opened fire, and then went into the building’s lobby. It’s unknown whether the gunman a specific target, or if he was shooting at random.
“It does appear that there was some random shooting involved,” Mayor John Cranley said in a press briefing. “This strikes me as a multiple shooting of innocent victims.”
Multiple victims were found in the vicinity of the Fifth Third Center, police said. They located an additional gunshot victim inside a nearby ice cream shop.
Witnesses told the Cincinnati Enquirer that they heard as many as 15 gunshots.
“Terrible shooting incident in the heart of our city this morning,” Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld wrote on twitter. “Multiple shot, and tragically there are fatalities. Details still emerging. Pray for our city.”
Cover: Emergency personnel and police respond to a reported active shooter situation near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)