The state's flagship university said in two alerts via its emergency system and Twitter that a shooting had occurred at the new School of Public Health, in a busy section of downtown Columbia.
State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry said in a brief news conference that he did not have any other details about the apparent murder-suicide. He said the two people were found in the public health building but would not say where.
Berry says there was "no active shooter situation." He did not release any names.
"Every indication we have seen so far it appears to be a very isolated incident - a murder-suicide," he said.
A school spokesman wouldn't immediately comment.
Student Hayden Dunn, a senior from Myrtle Beach, said he was in the building about 1 p.m., getting in an elevator to change classes, when a police officer also got inside. Dunn said the officer asked whether anyone had heard gunshots, but they hadn't. Dunn said he went to class, then an alarm sounded five minutes later, and people rushed outside. Another office told him shots had been fired, he said.
"Otherwise, you wouldn't have known anything happened," Dunn said.
Some roads were blocked in the immediate area after the shooting, but students still walked around campus, along with some vehicles that drove where they could.
The shooting happened a couple of blocks from the Statehouse and two blocks from the university's basketball arena. The street is one of the city's busiest. Sirens could be heard as more police officers arrived at the public health building.
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