Two killed in Empire State Building shooting

admin | 8/24/2012, 8:43 a.m.

ByMariano Andrade

A disgruntled former employee at a women's apparel shop shot a former co-worker outsidethe Empire State Buildingbefore being killed by police, officials said Friday.

In total, two people were killed and nine wounded in the mass shooting at rush hour,Police Commissioner Ray Kellytold a news conference.

New York mayor Michael Bloombergsaid that some of the wounded may have been harmed by straypolice bulletsas they exchanged fire with the gunman.

Streets around one of the Big Apple's biggest attractions were closed as police flooded the area. Television helicopters hovered overhead, filming the aftermath, including the body of the suspect covered in a white sheet.

The shooter was identified asJeffrey Johnson, 53, and his victim was aged 41, Kelly said.

Johnson was armed with a .45 caliber handgun, with a magazine holding eight bullets, and shot his former colleague in the head.

The shooter then tried to flee but was confronted by police who'd been alerted by a nearby construction worker,Bloombergtold the news conference.

"The perpetrator clearly turned his gun on the police and tried to shoot them," Bloomberg said. "The cops returned fire, killing him."

A fire department spokesman said it received an emergency call at 9:07 am and "we're at the scene, evaluating patients."

"I was scared, in shock, literally shaking. It was just by chance I missed it," witnessRebecca Foxsaid. "I saw a woman covered with blood. Another woman was being taken to an ambulance."

Fox said she'd also seen the gunman, who she said appeared to be of middle age and was lying on the ground.

"There were blood on the ground," she said.

"At this time there is no nexus to terrorism," FBI spokesman J. Peter Donald said.

Police secured the area almost immediately and did not appear to be searching for any other gunmen.

Footage from news helicopters showed police inspecting the shooter's body almost immediately under the north side of the Empire State Building.

The tower is one of the city's icons on a par with the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

In 1997 six people were wounded and one killed in a shooting rampage on the skyscraper's observation deck before the gunman turned the gun on himself.