The school was placed on lockdown, and the gunman remains at large. All buildings have been cleared, Maj. Tom Effler of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said.
"This is not a random situation. It is an isolated situation," he said.
The victim, Ron Lane, was a longtime employee. The suspected gunman, identified by law enforcement as 20-year-old Kenneth Morgan Stancil III, worked at one time for the victim and is a former student at the school.
"This is indeed a sad day for Wayne Community College and this close family and community," school President Kay Albertson said.
"Our hearts are heavy at the loss of an employee -- a valued employee -- and we will soon be reaching out to the family."
She praised the "rapid response from the city, the county, the state and the federal first responders," who are "working diligently to apprehend the suspect."
The shooting took place on the third floor of a campus building. Despite earlier reports, the victim was not killed inside the library, Albertson said.
While authorities were clearing out rooms, they deployed tear gas into a restroom someone was in, Effler said. The person inside turned out not to be the suspect.
Figures from fall 2013 show the two-year school with a student population of 3,837, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
, with slightly more than half the students part-time.
Crime statistics from the center's website show no killings, assaults, robberies or motor vehicle thefts between 2011 and 2013. There were three arrests for illegal weapons possession in 2012 and three in 2013.