Two men in their 20s died and one was hospitalized after gunfire broke out early Sunday in a Dinkytown tobacco store, according to Minneapolis police.

Police said they believe two groups of customers began fighting, which escalated into gunfire, inside Royal Cigar & Tobacco, at 14th Avenue and 4th Street SE.

Minneapolis police Sgt. Garrett Parten said employees were not involved in the shooting, though an employee, also in his 20s, was transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center with at least one non-life-threatening gunshot wound, police said.

The two were pronounced dead at the scene after officers arrived around 2:15 a.m. and attempted to save them, police said. According to store hours posted on Google, the shop closes at 2 a.m.

None of the three shot are believed to have been University of Minnesota students.

The incident is under investigation.

Crime surrounding the University of Minnesota campus has sparked headlines in recent years.

In May, Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara and local officials held a meeting to address concerns from families of University of Minnesota students, residents and businesses about a spate of crimes caused by unruly teens.

Overall, MPD's crime dashboard shows crime down in 2023 in Marcy-Holmes, the neighborhood that encompasses Dinkytown and surrounding areas where many U students live.

"While assaults, burglaries, thefts, robberies, and shots-fired calls are all down in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, which includes Dinkytown, this homicide is a very serious incident that rightly causes concern," Parten wrote in an emailed statement, adding that addressing gun violence is the department's highest priority.

On Sunday afternoon, students bustled past the tobacco shop to nearby coffee and bubble tea shops. A metal gate was closed in front of the store, and the door was covered with plywood, though "Open" signs blinked in the windows. Passersby approached by the Star Tribune said they had not heard about the shooting, which took place about 12 hours earlier.

Students did not receive alerts about the shooting through the University of Minnesota's SAFE-U emergency alert system. The tobacco shop falls just outside the area covered by that alert system, according to a map on the University of Minnesota's website.

Alerts about safety issues in the broader Dinkytown neighborhood are opt-in, according to the university's website. Some students found out about the shooting via third-party crime apps.

Brian Peck, parent of a University of Minnesota student and president of parent advocacy group Campus Safety Coalition, said he has seen the tobacco shop as a trouble spot.

"It's not a surprise, and it's not a secret to anybody that that is a problem area, and I hope it's a wake-up call," Peck said.

Peck said he wanted to see the University of Minnesota Police Department add more than 50 officers to its current roster of 55 to be more in line with other Big Ten and urban university campus forces and be given a larger jurisdiction in Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes.

Star Tribune intern Hannah Ward contributed to this report.