Nearby businesses and schools were evacuated and several police agencies responded to the incident in Panama City, where some witnesses reported hearing more than 50 shots.
Kim Allagood, owner of a nearby pizza restaurant, said "tons and tons" of police descended on the area and she locked down her restaurant for close to two hours amid sporadic shooting.
One civilian suffered minor injuries, and the incident was continuing, city spokeswoman Caitlyn Lawrence said mid-afternoon.
Police in nearby Walton County said on their official Twitter account that the incident was tied to a suspicious death in Santa Rosa Beach, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest along the Florida coast from Panama City. But they did not immediately release more details. Walton County police also were at the scene in Panama City.
Some initial media reports suggested the suspect had been holed up in bank near the apartment building. However Jeremy King, a spokesman for Regions Bank, said the shooter was not in the bank and he had no information that the suspect was ever inside the bank.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott talked to Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford about the situation in Panama City. John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, said the main point of the call was to offer state law enforcement assistance.
I’ve spoken with Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford to offer any state law enforcement assistance his office may need. FDLE, Florida Highway Patrol & FWC officers are currently assisting.— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) May 22, 2018
A flurry of high powered rifle fire just broke out pic.twitter.com/t6lGkRrzKJ— Eryn Dion (@PCNHErynDion) May 22, 2018
There hasn't been much movement just a lot of huddling near the PCB Spec Ops vehicle, which is the white vehicle to the right pic.twitter.com/hP8UfEV4DI— Eryn Dion (@PCNHErynDion) May 22, 2018