Shoot-out at Empire State Building in New York after gunman kills workmate
A SACKED shopworker sparked chaos in one of the busiest tourist streets in New York yesterday, shooting dead a former colleague outside the Empire State Building.
• Two people killed, including shooter - police sources
The killing, which came just after 9am (1300 GMT) and morning rush-hour in the city, was followed by an exchange of fire with police officers. The gunman had reportedly been pursued by witnesses.
He was named as 53-year-old Jeffrey Johnson and was shot and killed by police following the confrontation.
Nine bystanders were hit by gunfire. Police said they were all expected to survive, but
acknowledged that some might have been hit by
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said: “This was a terrible tragedy. We are not immune to the national problem of gun violence.”
Police identified Johnson as a former designer of women’s accessories who was laid off last year. They said they had few details yet about his background, including any criminal record.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Johnson pointed his .45-calibre pistol at officers and they fired at him. It is not clear whether Johnson opened fire on the
Commissioner Kelly said Johnson fired at the former colleague three times at close range after a dispute.
The name of the 41-year-old victim was not released, pending notification of the family.
Johnson then walked away, but a construction worker who witnessed the encounter followed him and alerted police, officials said.
Federal officials confirmed that the shooting was not related to terrorism.
The area above which the Empire State towers is one of the city’s busiest. The building itself boasts four million visitors to its observation decks each year, and streets outside the building
bustle with people selling tickets for its attractions.
Many visitors are shoppers drawn to stores along both 34th Street and Fifth Avenue. The shooting occurred at their intersection and streets around the immediate area remained closed yesterday afternoon.
Construction worker Chris Ogden said he was working on scaffolding above one entrance to the building when he saw someone in a suit and carrying a briefcase start shooting.
“He shot the guy in the head,” Mr Ogden said.
“The guy went down. He took a second shot when he was down.”
Mr Ogden said he then casually walked away. “We were screaming from the top, ‘It’s the guy in the grey suit’,” he said.
Aliyah Imam said she was standing at a red light when a woman next to her fell to the ground. The woman was hit in the hip. The gunman was “shooting indiscriminately at people”.
Resident Rebecca Fox, 27, said she saw people running down the street and at first thought it was a celebrity sighting.
Then she saw a woman shot in the foot and a man dead on the ground.
“I was scared and shocked and literally shaking,” she said.
A body remained at the scene more than an hour after the shooting as police scoured the area for bullets.
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