Venezuelan police have raided a building occupied by presumed members of a pro-government militia and authorities say five people were killed.

Among those killed is Jose Odreman, who was a well-connected leader of a militia group aligned with the socialist government.

Police moved in before dawn Tuesday to arrest what authorities said is a gang behind multiple homicides. That led to an eight-hour standoff that created panic and blocked traffic across several downtown blocks.

During a recess in the shooting, Odreman blamedd Interior Minister Miguel Rodrigues Torres for the bloodshed in remarks to the media.

Fighting resumed when three police officers were taken hostage by individuals holed up in the high-rise building.