A gunman wounded three Florida State University students, one critically, early Thursday when he opened fire in a library where hundreds of students were studying for exams, authorities said.
Officers confronted the attacker soon after 12:30 a.m. near the entrance to Florida State's Strozier Library in the latest of a string of shootings on U.S. campuses. Police said they ordered him to drop his weapon, then fatally shot him when he fired on them.
Authorities have not released the identity of the male shooter or the names of the three students who were shot. One was treated at the scene for a graze wound and released, and two were taken to a local hospital, Tallahassee police said.
One victim was critical and the other was in good condition, said a spokeswoman at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare hospital. Police were investigating the shooter's motive.
"Just like any tragedy, the ultimate question - why? - will never have an answer that satisfies those whose loved ones have been injured or killed," said Florida Governor Rick Scott at a news conference.
Campus security was increased and classes were canceled on Thursday.
FSU President John Thrasher said efforts were under way to restore normalcy to the campus of about 40,000 students, known nationally for the strength of its football team and academics, with weekend events to continue as scheduled.
He said the training of police, who responded immediately, helped to "diffuse a very, very difficult situation that could have been probably worse."
The shooting occurred just over a mile (1.6 km) from the Florida state capitol building.
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."
Five officers involved were placed on administrative leave. The shooting comes amid heightened concerns about safety at U.S. schools and a longrunning, heated debate about gun control.
In September, a student at Indiana State University was arrested after shooting another student inside a residence hall.
In June, a gunman opened fire with a shotgun at a small Christian college in Seattle, killing one person and wounding two others.
A 15-year-old killed four other students last month in the cafeteria of a Seattle-area high school before turning the gun on himself.