A 13-year-old boy in Florida fatally shot his six-year-old brother, wounded his 16-year-old brother and then killed himself during an argument over food, authorities said.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office received a call about the shooting at 6.19pm local time in the city of Hudson, some 45 miles north of Tampa, the office said in a statement.

The three brothers were squabbling over dinner, the statement said, when the 13-year-old grabbed a handgun and shot his two brothers before killing himself. The children were home alone at the time.

The older brother was taken to a hospital and his injuries were not considered life-threatening, the statement said. The names of the children were not released by authorities.

"This is a horrific scene," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said, according to the Tampa Bay Times newspaper. "This is a nightmare when you hear about the ages of these boys, a six-year-old that was probably playing in his room, an argument over food and he lost his life."

The Times said that the children's mother was at work and a fourth son, who is 18 years old, was not at the house.