Kazakh law enforcement announced a counter-terrorism operation in Almaty and urged residents of the city to stay indoors and keep safe.
"In this regard we ask everyone not to leave their homes, to avoid crowded areas. All suspicious persons must be immediately reported to law enforcement agencies," the Ministry of Internal Affairs said.
Local authorities confirmed that one attacker was detained by police.
Предполагаемое фото одного из задержанных в алматы pic.twitter.com/P6nG545KaY— Михаил Козачков (@koza4koff) July 18, 2016
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the arrested gunman is also suspected of murdering a woman over the weekend.
Earlier, multiple witness accounts described a man wearing black running onto a street with a machine gun and opening fire in the direction of the local police station.
Witnesses report on social networks that the man was “trying to stop a police car, and then ran east.”
The area has been cordoned off by police with reports coming in that police are engaged in a shootout with at least one perpetrator.
At lease one civilian and three police officers have been killed and seven more people in critical condition, according Kazakhstan's Interior Ministry.
В больницы Алматы поступают раненые полицейские. По рассказам очевидцев, нападавшие стреляют только по силовикам pic.twitter.com/8eI6ZSBPAC— Михаил Козачков (@koza4koff) July 18, 2016
"The emergency care hospital is taken under armed security. It's reported that there are no victims among civilians. The hospital psychologists are on their way to work with the relatives of the injured men," Tengrinews.kz agency reported.
WARNING! Some of the images below contain graphic content!
What a hell is going on in Almaty can someone explain me?! Перестрелки? Убийства?! Вахабы? Что за х вообще, блять?!!!!!!!!! До нас тоже доходит волна ебанутых событий, или что?! Нам бояться теперь выезжать в город?! Блять, соберите всех радикалов, нахуй, и сожгите, сама подожгу с радостью! #алматы #радикалы #убийства #остановите
All gun shops in the city have closed on the orders of local authorities following the shooting, media reports.