At least six people have been killed when a gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple in the US state of Wisconsin — the second mass shooting in America in less than a month.
The suspected shooter later died in a gunfight with police, authorities said, bringing the total number of dead to seven.
Police were called to the Sikh Temple near Milwaukee in the suburb of Oak Creek, where several dozen people were gathering for a service. Authorities found four people dead inside the temple and two outside.
Witness Sunny Singh (21) said a friend had just pulled into the temple's car park when he heard shots and saw two people fall down.
The friend then saw the shooter reload his weapons and head to the temple's entrance, Mr Singh said.
A witness who had been outside the temple told the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel that she had phoned her brother in law, who she said was the priest of the temple and who was inside “at that time (the) shooting happened”.
“He told me 25 or more people got shot,” said Parminder Kaleka.
“At that time they don't even know if they are dead or alive, so a lot of people got injured.”
Amardeep Kaleka told CNN that his father, congregation president Satwant Kaleka, was shot and wounded when he attempted to tackle the gunman, and his mother — who hid in a closet during the violence — was too distraught to talk.
The first police officer to arrive at the temple exchanged gunfire outside the building with a man police believe was the gunman, police said, adding that the suspect was killed.
Tactical units went through the temple and police do not believe a second shooter was involved.
It was unclear how many others were wounded, but Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt said he had been told the officer who exchanged gunfire with the suspect and another person had been taken to hospital. He said the officer was shot multiple times and is in surgery, but is expected to survive.
A spokeswoman for the area trauma centre said three victims were being treated there, including one who was in surgery.
State representative Mark Honadel told CNN: “Unfortunately, when this type of stuff hits your area, you say to yourself, ‘Why?'
“But in today's society, I don't think there's any place that's free from idiots.”
On July 20, 12 people were killed in a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises. The sole suspect is James Holmes who was arrested outside the movie theatre minutes after the shooting began.
Sikh rights groups have reported a rise in racist attacks since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 racist incidents against Sikh members of society in the US since then.