'A horrific situation: Four dead in Cincinnati bank shooting

CINCINNATI (AP) — A gunman carrying enough ammunition to cause "a bloodbath beyond imagination" killed three people and wounded two others Thursday morning at a high-rise office building in the heart of Cincinnati before dying in a hail of police gunfire.

The shooting at the 30-story Fifth Third Center sent people running for cover across the city's Fountain Square amid cries of "Shooter!" Police responded within seconds, and four officers opened fire, bullets smashing through glass doors and the gunman falling to the floor, authorities said.

Police identified him as Omar Enrique Santa Perez, 29, but said they don't know what motivated the attack.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac said the killer used a 9 mm handgun and was carrying magazines with some 200 rounds of ammunition.

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Emergency personnel and police respond to reports of an active shooter situation near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Omar Enrique Santa Perez appears in a booking photo provided by the Broward County Sheriff's Office September 6, 2018. Broward County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY
Sep 6, 2018; Cincinnati, OH, USA; View of the video board showing support for the victims of a shooting in Cincinnati, prior to the game between the San Diego Padres and the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Pedestrians stand behind a police line as emergency personnel and police respond to reports of a shooting near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Police responds to shooting inside a bank in downtown, in this social media photo released in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., September 6, 2018. Courtesy Cincinnati Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Omar Enrique Santa Perez appears in a booking photo provided by the Broward County Sheriff's Office September 6, 2018. Broward County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Emergency personnel and police respond to a reported active shooter situation near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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)
Emergency personnel and police respond to reports of an active shooter situation near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
An area is cordoned off with police tape as emergency personnel and police respond to reports of an active shooter situation near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley stands at the scene as emergency personnel and police respond to reports of a shooting near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac, center, works the scene as emergency personnel and police respond to reports of a shooting near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Pedestrians stand behind a police line as emergency personnel and police respond to reports of a shooting near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac crosses under police tape before speaking to the media as emergency personnel and police work the scene of shooting near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Members of the Cincinnati Police Department listen as Chief Eliot Isaac speaks to the media as emergency personnel and police work the scene of a shooting near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley speaks to the media as emergency personnel and police work the scene of shooting near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac, center, speaks alongside Mayor John Cranley, left, during a media conference as emergency personnel and police work the scene of shooting near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Pedestrians are allowed to exit police cordons as emergency personnel and police work the scene of shooting near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Emergency personnel and police work the scene of shooting near Fountain Square, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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"A very horrific situation," Isaac said at the scene.

The building is home to Fifth Third Bancorp's headquarters along with a number of other businesses, including ice cream, pastry and sandwich shops.

Police said the gunman, a Cincinnati-area resident since 2015, wasn't a current or past Fifth Third employee. They said he went into a sandwich shop and possibly other businesses before entering the lobby and opening fire around 9:10 a.m.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said the rapid police response probably prevented many more casualties. He said one investigator warned it could have been "a bloodbath beyond imagination."

Afterward, police swarmed the gunman's apartment in North Bend, Ohio, about 15 miles west of Cincinnati.

Michael Richardson, who works in the bank building, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that he was standing outside the entrance when he heard gunshots in the lobby.

"I looked behind me and saw the guy — he shot and then he shot again. After that, I started running," Richardson said.

Leonard Cain told The Enquirer he was going into the bank when someone alerted him about the shooting. He said a woman wearing headphones didn't hear the warnings and walked into the bank and got shot.

Jessica Hanson, who works on one of the lower floors, said a co-worker had taken the elevator down to get a drink, and when the doors opened, she nearly stepped on a man's body. The woman got back in the elevator and rode up to her floor, where Hanson said she was in shock and unable to form complete sentences.

"Then we knew what was going on," Hanson said.

Jaenetta Cook, who manages a bakery on the first floor, said she hurried to lock the door after the first two shots. Then, it "sounded as if they were getting closer and closer." Cook said she and two other employees hid in the bathroom.

"I made it out to see my kids, to see another day," she said with relief.

One of the victims died at the scene. Two more died at University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The wounded were listed there in critical condition and fair condition.

Fountain Square is often the site of concerts, dancing, food trucks and other events around lunchtime or in the evenings.

"It could have been any one of us," Mayor John Cranley said. He praised police and other emergency personnel, saying, "It could have been much, much worse."

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Associated Press writers John Seewer in Toledo, Alexandra Villarreal in New York and AP Photographer John Minchillo in Cincinnati contributed.

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