Reports said that some people had been hiding in the basement and others in a cupboard.

"About 15 or so employees of the Civic Association came out crying with their hands behind their heads and they were escorted by the police and they took them to ambulances and took them away," a female witness told the local WNBF radio station.

Surrounding streets and a nearby high school have been closed by the police.

Shooting incidents have become increasingly common in the US, where guns are widely available and the rights to own them are fiercely debated.

In 2007, a student went on a gun rampage killing 32 people at Virginia Tech University, in Blacksburg, Virginia.