The gunman is believed to have injured at least one person amid reports of several shots being fired at the Campus Edge Apartments.
He is believed to be on foot, leading to fears he may flee to the University campus.
Police have since raced to the scene, with County Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Bobo confirming the shooting took place at an apartment complex next to the school’s campus.
Officials at USC have claimed the suspect is a black male wearing khaki trousers, a grey hoodie and carrying an automatic weapon.
The lockdown, which lasted over an hour, has since been lifted despite no arrests being confirmed by officials.
The victim is said to have sustained non-life threatening injuries after being shot in the arm.
It follows furious debate on the role of guns in US society following deadly mass shootings in Texas and Las Vegas.
On Sunday Kevin Delaney murdered 26 people in cold blood after storming into a church in Sutherlands Springs, Texas, armed with a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic weapon.
And last month Stephen Paddock shot more than 500 people in Las Vegas when he opened fire on a music festival from the window of his room at the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel.
More to follow…