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Gunman Shot Dead at Florida State University

Police investigate a shooting scene at Strozier Library on Florida State campus on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.

A gunman opened fire in the library at a major U.S. university early Thursday, wounding three students, before he was killed in a shootout with police.

The incident occurred shortly after midnight at Florida State University in the southern city of Tallahassee, Florida, as hundreds of students were studying for upcoming exams. Many fled to aisles of books, hid under desks or frantically ran from the library as the gunman fired at least four shots.

One student, Alex Lavene, said there was chaos as the incident unfolded.

"It was very stressed, everybody was traumatized...crying," said Lavene.

Police said two of the shooting victims were taken to a local hospital, while a third sustained a grazing wound and was treated at the scene.

Authorities said they confronted the as-yet unidentified gunman just outside the library and ordered him to drop his weapon. But they said instead he fired at them, with police returning a volley of shots that killed him.

The incident is the latest in a long string of shooting incidents at U.S. schools in recent years. The attacks have often started national debates about the nation's gun control laws, but the country's Constitution guarantees the right to gun ownership and efforts by gun-control advocates to stiffen laws have routinely been rebuffed.

Some information in this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.