BEIJING (AP) _ An Iranian diplomat and his son were killed and several people wounded Tuesday when a man armed with a rifle shot at vehicles and bystanders on a major Beijing street, officials and witnesses said.

Foreigners living in a diplomatic compound near Beijing's Second Ring Road, one of the city's main arteries, were startled by the loud gunfire. One diplomat, who asked not to be named, said he saw a man in civilian clothing carrying a rifle, pursued by men in military uniforms.

Iranian Embassy officials said attache Yousef Mohammadi Pishknari and one of his sons were shot to death. Another of Mohammadi's sons was shot in the leg and his two daughters were missing, the embassy said.

Mohammadi was driving the children to school at the time of the shooting, the embassy said.

Others near the scene said several other people were injured by the gunfire, one perhaps fatally.

The shooting occurred at the start of morning rush hour and was an unusually graphic example of China's rising problem with gun crimes.

Although China bans civilians from owning or carrying weapons, except in special cases, the number of illegal weapons has soared in recent years and violent crime is increasing.

Beijing authorities recently ordered city residents to turn in unauthorized weapons or face serious punishment.

Authorities would not immediately confirm details of Tuesday's shooting, and police blocked access to the road.