At least three people have been killed after a shooting at a US university – with the gunman apparently dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A manhunt was launched for the attacker who was described as a short black male in a cap, red shoes and a jean jacket.

Police said five people were also taken to hospital, some in a life-threatening condition.

The incident began at around 8.18pm local time when shots were fired at Berkey Hall on the East Lansing campus .

Students and staff were told in a police tweet to “secure-in-place immediately” as officers responded to multiple 911 calls.

Police said in a news conference that the gunman then opened fire at the nearby university union and was last seen leaving the building on foot.

Large numbers are likely to be locked down as about 50,000 people attend the East Lansing campus – which also hosts evening classes.

A number of buildings have already been secured as police systematically search for the gunman.

The victims have been taken to Sparrow Hospital.

Chris Rozman, from Michigan State University Police, said “numerous” officers responded within minutes and gave first aid at both shooting locations.

He told reporters that “hundreds” of police and law enforcement personnel were hunting the gunman.

The campus is about 90 miles (145km) northwest of Detroit.

Lisa McClain, US representative for Michigan, tweeted earlier: “There are reports of an active shooting on campus at Michigan State University.

“If you are there, police instructions are to Run, Hide, Fight. I am praying for all Spartans right now.”

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