Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly will give a press conference on this morning's fatal Empire State Building shooting at 11 a.m. today. It'll take place at Fifth Avenue between West 34th and 35th Streets. You can live stream the press conference here, and we'll update this post with their comments once it's over.
Update: The shooter has been identified as 56-year-old Jeffrey Johnson. "A man who had been fired from his job about a year or so began shooting near the Empire State Building on the street," Bloomberg said. "He killed one person and 9 others were shot, and some may have been shot accidentally by police officers who responded."
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Johnson was a former employee of Hazan Imports, a local company who designs women's accessories; Johnson worked there for six years prior to being laid off. Kelly said: "During downsizing, Johnson was laid off. In a dispute with former employees of Hazan, in front of the Empire State Building, Johnson fired at close range, striking a 41-year-old victim in the head." That victim's name is being withheld until the family has been notified. Bloomberg said that Johnson "does not appear to have crime record," but "we don't know very much about him, we're just starting the investigation."
After shooting the 41-year-old former co-worker, Johnson fled eastbound on West 33rd Street, and walked northbound on 5th Avenue with a 45 caliber hand gun in a black bag under his arm. Kelly said: "A construction worker who followed him from 33rd Street alerted two uniformed police offers who were posted at the 5th Avenue subway entrance. Police officers approached, and Johnson pulled the pistol from his bag and fired on officers. They returned fire, killing him." Bloomberg said there was video that clearly shows "the guy has the gun out and tried to kill the police officers." [Update:] Police released the video of cops shooting Johnson dead.
Altogether, 7 men and 2 women were shot—six of them were taken to Bellevue Hospital and three to New York Cornell Presbyterian. Bloomberg noted that the other victims were "grazed," none were children or elderly, and all were expected to survive. "This is a terrible tragedy and no doubt this situation would have been even more tragic but for some extraordinary acts of heroism," Bloomberg added. "We are not immune to the national problem of gun violence."
Kelly added that the area in and around the Empire State Building "remains an active crime scene" with 5th Avenue closed from just below 42nd Street to 33rd Street.
Update: Kelly just came back and added some more details: it seems Johnson and the victim were involved in an "ongoing dispute"—they were cross complainants in some kind of harassment case. He also said that officers fired 14 rounds, but wouldn't say how many people were shot by cops.
Update: Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave this statement about today's shooting:
Today's shooting near the Empire State Building is a tragedy for New York City and our entire state. My administration, including members of the State Police, is actively monitoring the situation and working closely with city law enforcement agencies to ensure that the safety of New Yorkers and those visiting New York City comes first. I commend members of the New York Police Department, as well as the first responders and civilians, who acted bravely and took swift action to save the lives of others and prevent this tragedy from becoming much worse. Our state has no tolerance for senseless acts of violence that harm our people, and we will do everything possible to ensure that law enforcement officials have the tools they need so residents of the city and tourists can enjoy everything New York City has to offer without fearing for their own safety and security. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I send my condolences to the friends and family of the innocent victim who died in this attack, and wish those who were injured in today's shooting a speedy recovery.
Reporting from Jake Dobkin