9:54 am Aug. 24, 20121
A gunman opened fire near the Empire State Building, apparently on a former co-worker, and was killed by police after several other people were shot or grazed, one of them fatally.
An unnamed city official told the New York Times shortly after the incident, “There are two people on site dead, a civilian and the gunman."
The shooter, Jeffrey Johnson, had been employed for six years as a designer at Hazan Imports, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, who spoke at a press conference at the Empire State Building after 11 a.m. Johnson was fired from his job about a year ago.
Aside from the shooter and the dead victim, ten other people were "wounded or grazed" by shots, according to Kelly.
Bloomberg said it was unlikely that any of the other victims would die from their wounds.
It is not yet clear from reports, or anything the mayor said, how many of the victims were shot by Johnson and how many were shot by the responding police officers.
Bloomberg said that videotape already reviewed shows clearly that Johnson was raising his weapon and aiming at police, but it was unclear whether he managed to fire any shots before police shot him. He said it was also unclear how many of the shooting victims may have been shot by the two police officers who responded to the scene and how many were shot by Johnson. The area remains a crime scene and investigations are ongoing, he said.
Bloomberg said that the incident was not connected to terrorism, confirming earlier reports.
One male witness I spoke on the scene, before the press conference, told me police used a rifle to "take out" the midsection of a suspected gunman. He walked away after talking to me, saying he was going to throw up.
One construction worker who asked not to be named said, "He must have had a pretty good caliber weapon because I was a block away at 36th and Madison, six floors up, and I heard it ... Nine shots, tat-tat-tat-tat-tat."
Some pictures from the scene:
Eyewitness Rebecca Fox is mobbed by reporters near the Empire State Building.
Media presence on the scene.
Fox told reporters she was "scared" and "shocked" during the shooting; that she saw two bodies, and that police were "prompt."
And here's a graphic photo, on Flickr, of one of the shooting fatalities.
Bloomberg, currently the most prominent political advocate of gun control measures in America, ended the press conference by saying, "And once again, there's an awful lot of guns out there."