Gunman kills five at US birthday party

A man attending a birthday party at a roller-skating rink opened fire after an apparent spat between family members, killing five people and wounding at least three others before shooting himself.

The shootings happened at around 7pm local time yesterday at Forum Roller World in Grand Prairie, Texas, when police said the man drew a pistol during a fight between a husband and wife.

The names and ages of the victims were not immediately released, and the relation of the gunman to the other victims was not clear.

"It was an argument. The shooter had gotten into here at a private birthday party," said John Brimmer, Grand Prairie police spokesman, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"It escalated to the point where he pulled a gun and started shooting."

The injured survivors were taken to hospitals.

Aaron Feldt, of Grand Prairie, told the newspaper he was across the street when he saw some of the victims run across the rink's car park.

"I saw family coming across the street looking panicked," he said. "They had children along with some adults. You could tell there was a sense of urgency and panic in their eyes.

Great Southwest Parkway, a major street in front of the rink, was blocked off after the incident. As of 9.30pm, bodies were still inside the building, the Morning News said.

Byron Raspberry, of Grand Prairie, said his children go to the rink frequently because it is near their home.

"It doesn't make any sense," he said. "I don't feel safe at all."