Several people have been shot, two fatally, in a police-involved shooting outside the Empire State Building this morning. The shooting was a workplace dispute. The gunman, who appears to have stalked his former manager on the street before opening fire on tourists, was fatally shot by the police after he killed his victim. Six people were taken to Bellevue Hospital and three more victims were taken to Cornell after the shooting, none expected to die.
The violence began just after 9 a.m. Nine people were hurt in the gunfire. The gunman, Jeffrey Johnson, 56, had been fired from his job at women's apparel company, Hazan Imports, last year and had returned to the area today. After seeing his former manager, who was 41 and whose identity has not been released, on the street Johnson shot the man at close range with a .45 caliber gun in a black bag. He was soon after shot by police. It is currently unclear if the many people injured in the incident were shot by the police or the gunman. Johnson's gun holds eight bullets and he reportedly used at least three to shoot his manager. Officers fired 14 rounds and nine bystanders in total were shot.
According to one person who claims to be a witness the shooter clearly had a specific target:
I was about 50 feet away from the guy who was killed, and it was definitely a targeted shooting. Apparently he walked right up to the guy and shot him in the head. I was one of the first there, thinking I could take my jacket off to help the guy who was shot, but he was gone already.
Just FYI, this has nothing to do with the ESB. It just happens to be right across the street from where it occurred. It's not a shooting that took place in the building, or some kind of terrorist activity. Just stating this because some would assume it's a guy who opened fire in a tourist attraction, and that was not the case.
ABC7 reports that at least one victim was shot in a nearby Duane Reade when a bullet went through a window. Reportedly, "Some shooting victims were found inside the lobby of the Empire State Building, others found outside."
"The shot rang out, and everybody started running," one witness told the News. "Oh man, there must have been 12 or 13 shots. It was amazing."
Victims—shot in the arms, legs and buttocks—were completely caught off guard by the shooting:
One of the victims, a woman from Woodlawn, Bronx, in her 20s, was on her way to Dunkin Donuts for her morning coffee when she heard the gunfire and realized she’s been shot.
"She saw blood and said 'Who got shot?' and then she looked down and it was her. She never saw the gunman,” said her pal, Chris Collins, a 44-year-old lab tech at NYU.
“I said, ‘Erica, is that you?' She was lying on the floor bleeding. She said, ‘I don’t want to die, I hope I don’t die. I don’t want to lose my leg.’
At 11 a.m. Mayor Bloomberg spoke to the press about the incident, for a full rundown on what he and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had to say, click here. [Update:] Police released video of cops shooting Johnson dead.
Meanwhile, the Empire State Building's observatory is open to the public. The gunman and his victim did not work in the ESB, but at 10 West 33rd Street.
Reporting from Jen Chung and Jake Dobkin
Bloomberg, Kelly Identify ESB Shooter As Disgruntled Former Women's Apparel Employee
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