updated 7/6/2009 3:38:05 PM ET 2009-07-06T19:38:05

As many as three gunman stormed a birthday party on the edge of downtown Miami and opened fire early Monday, shooting 12 people and causing a chaotic scramble as people tried to flee, authorities said.

Three of the wounded were hospitalized in critical condition, police spokesman Detective William Moreno said. Another person fleeing the home was struck by a vehicle and was in stable condition. Police are searching for the suspects.

The men were wearing all black and opened fire with automatic weapons around 12:45 a.m. Shell casings from an AK-47 and two pistols were found, police said.

It was unclear if the shooting happened in the home or outside what authorities described as a block party.

Police roped off about four blocks with yellow tape in the area of the shooting, located in Miami's Overtown neighborhood, a run down area in the shadows of downtown's glistening skyscrapers. Crime scene trucks were parked along the street as detectives searched for a motive. Shell casing were sprayed across the road and inside the home, some possibly from Fourth of July celebrations, authorities said.

"There's a lot of casings," Miami Police Chief John Timoney said.

Miami Fire-Rescue spokesman Ignatius Carroll said initially there were not enough ambulances to take the victims to the hospital, he said.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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