Two dead in New York shooting


A man (53) who had been fired from a clothing company by the Empire State Building shot and killed a former co-worker this morning, New York city mayor Michael R Bloomberg said.

The man then walked along the street in front of the Empire State Building and "turned his gun" on two officers on duty at the main entrance "and tried to shoot them," the mayor said.

Police commissioner Raymond W Kelly said nine bystanders had been "wounded or grazed" and taken to hospitals.

The mayor said some of the injured may have been hit by police bullets during the confrontation with the suspect, whom Mr Kelly identified as Jeffrey Johnson, a former clothing designer at Hazan Industries.

The mayor spoke at a briefing outside the Empire State Building.

Before the briefing, State Senator Malcolm A Smith, a Queens Democrat who was in Manhattan for a meeting and went to the Empire State Building when he heard about the shooting, said the mayor had told him the gunman was "a disgruntled employee who came back to the store that he was working at and apparently shot the manager."

He said the mayor indicated the manager had been hit in the face.

After the incident, police sources said the shooting had no connection to terrorism.

A major traffic tie-up spread from the streets outside the area around the Empire State Building, at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, after the police closed surrounding streets.

A passerby said that she had just come out of a nearby dentist's office when she heard a burst of gunfire.

"Suddenly I heard two shots or three shots, boom boom boom, and I saw two guys, they go to the floor," said the passerby, a woman who would give only her first name, Monica. "I was really afraid."

Andrew Pellenberg (23) and a friend, both from New Jersey, were also nearby, thinking about visiting the Empire State Building. "We heard 10 to 15 gunshots," Mr Pellenberg said, "and it was all in a 30-second span".

New York Times