A 53-year-old Manhattan man who was fired from his apparel-industry job a year ago opened fire near the Empire State Building in NYC at about 9 this morning, killing his 41-year-old former manager and wounding two women and seven men, according to New York City Police.
The gunman, using a .45 caliber handgun, reportedly confronted a former coworker in front of the company's office on West 33rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, according to officials at a press conference this morning.
He killed the man via shots to the head, police said, and a construction worker who witnessed it alerted police who were stationed on an anti-terrorism post nearby.
The shooter, identified as Jeffrey Johnson, was described as a clothing designer who was recently let go in downsizing efforts after years of employment at Hazan Import Corporation. Two New York Police Department cops shot after he allegedly opened fire on them, Mayor Bloomberg stated at this morning's press conference.
An FDNY spokesman said they received a call just after 9 a.m. today for a shooting.
One witness told Fox 5 News the gunman was shooting "indiscriminately" at people.
The New York Post reported that 10 people were shot and police killed the gunman. One female that was shot is dead, according to the New York Post.
ABC 7 News is reporting that this was a "workplace dispute" that lead to the shooting. This was confirmed by NYPD.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims of today’s tragic shootings and their families," said New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. "For those of us in government, and in law enforcement, the news of yet another mass shooting so close on the heels of the massacres at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and in Aurora, Colorado, should make it crystal clear that our current laws have failed to protect the public from gun violence. We must redouble our efforts to protect public safety so that New Yorkers don’t have to live in fear of the next deadly attack.”
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly briefed the press on the incident around 11:30 a.m., stressing that it was not terrorist-related.
The nine victims—two women and seven men—who were reportedly hit or grazed by bullets exchanged during the gunfire, do not appear to have sustained life-threatening injuries. Bloomberg and Kelly would not release information on their identities, but said there were no children or elderly individuals involved.
Stacey Matusow, a White Plains resident who works nearby at 36th St. and 6th Ave. said she heard about the incident from a co-worker after a meeting.
"It's scary, working near the Empire State building is obviously a scary thing because there are lots of scary things that go on in New York City," she said, adding that many of her co-workers walk through West 33rd St. on their way to work. "It could have been me... literally it was two blocks away."
Matusow said the streets were impassable when she went outside during her lunch break at about 12:30 p.m.
"All the streets were blocked off," she said. "The stores were closed, they were all roped off you couldn't get there."
Traffic is being diverted around the Empire State Building as officials continue their investigation. More information is expected to be released later in the day.