A gunman shot dead six people and critically wounded three others on Wednesday at a Southern California hair salon in the coastal town of Seal Beach, an Orange County fire official said.

The suspected gunman was arrested by officers from the Seal Beach police department, county fire authority spokesman Marc Stone told Reuters.

The shooting occurred at the Salon Meritage in a large shopping center on Pacific Coast Highway. Seal Beach is located about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Details of the shooting, including a motive, were not immediately available, and the six dead have not yet been identified as having been customers, employees or bystanders at the salon.

The three critically wounded victims were taken to the Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Stone said.

Local media reports said the gunman was apprehended after fleeing the scene in a vehicle.

Cindy Spinosa, who works at the Seal Beach Chiropractic Center across the street from the salon, said she and others were left shaken by the outburst of violence.

It's such a quiet little community. We don't experience things like this.

Live overhead television footage broadcast on KCAL9-TV showed a white pickup truck left parked by a roadside with three of its doors open about a half mile from the shooting scene. The station reported that a number of weapons were recovered from the vehicle by police.

The area around the salon was cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape, and several nearby streets were blocked off by police.