Three people have been killed as gunshots were fired at a court building in Moscow, Russia, according to TASS news agency.

It is believed the shooting took place after five defendants from the 'GTA gang' – which took its name from the popular Grand Theft Auto video game series – had tried to grab firearms from court security officers. Three were killed and the other two were disarmed and detained.

Tatiana Petrova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Interior Ministry's Moscow department, said some people were wounded, including a National Guard officer and two policemen.

"According to preliminary information, while being transported in the elevator, they [the defendants] attacked the guards and tried to take possession of their service weapons. Three of the arrested were killed while trying to flee the scene when the elevator was forcibly stopped, two were wounded," Petrova said.

The building was reportedly evacuated. Lawyer Sofia Rubasskaya, who was in the building at the time of the incident, told TASS: "We were at a different session when we heard shots fired. More than 20 shots were made. We began to be evacuated. I saw a wounded woman bailiff, her face in blood. Later somebody said that an armed guard had been injured."

A spokesperson for the court, Natalia Osipova, said work "has now resumed. No one from among the court employees have been hurt."

According to TASS, the 9 members of the gang are charged with the murders of 17 car drivers in Moscow and Kaluga between 2012 and 2014. The charges also include two counts of attempted murder, banditry, plunder, illegal production and possession of weapons, and theft of documents.