Shortly after 9 a.m., 53-year-old gunman Jeffrey Johnson fatally shot a former colleague outside New York’s Empire State Building before being chased and shot dead by police officers.
The former women’s accessories designer had been laid off from women’s apparel company Hazan Imports. Police have described Johnson as a “disgruntled” worker and are investigating possible motives for the attack.
Johnson was carrying a .45 calibre pistol, which he used to shoot his ex-coworker in the head.
Nine bystanders have been sent to hospitals with minor injuries. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has admitted that some of the gunshot wounds may have been inflicted by police officers as they chased Johnson down 33rd Street.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has praised police and civilians for their acts during the shooting and pursuit.
“There is no doubt that the situation would’ve been even more tragic except for the extraordinary acts of heroism,” Bloomberg said. “New York City is the safest big city in this country but we are not immune to the national problem of gun violence.”
The incident is yet another in a string of summer shootings that began in Aurora, Colorado when James Holmes opened fire at a Dark Knight Rises midnight premiere, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. This was followed by a shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple that claimed six victims, making the Empire State Building shooting the third gun-related incident this summer.