According to CNN, ten people have been shot uptown outside of the Empire State Building this morning and the perpetrator has allegedly been shot and killed by police. @NYScanner is reporting that the suspect was recently fired from his job and returned to his former employer, leaving two dead on arrival. (The number of victims has yet to be confirmed.) Reports from Gothamist indicate that the shooter appeared to have a specific target in mind. One witness reported that the shooter walked up to a man and shot him in the head. A witness that was interview by Fox 5 described the suspect as a “young white guy” in his twenties. (The photo at right was taken by @BicyclesOnly.)
FDNY reported that several of the victims have been taken to hospitals for medical care. ABC7 noted that one victim is believed to have been shot in a nearby Duane Reader after a bullet flew threw the window. Other reports indicate that some victims were found in the lobby of the Empire State Building.
CNN is reporting that police have closed much of the area around the iconic building, specifically around 5th Avenue and 34th Street.
UPDATE (11:03 pm): Police still clearing the scene (see photo below), press still waiting for Mayor Bloomberg.
UPDATE (11:35): Mayor Bloomberg and Comm. Ray Kelly speak to press and confirm the identity of the shooter as Jeff Johnson, 58 of New York City. He was reportedly an employee for six years at Hazan Importers, 10 W. 33rd St., where he worked as a designer of women’s accessories. Johnson was laid off around a year ago in a downsizing. According to city officials, Johnson visited his former place of employment at roughly 9:03 a.m. this morning and shot a former co-worker three times. Johnson fled the scene and reportedly hid his .45 Caliber Semi-Automatic handgun in a black bag he was carrying. A construction worker who witnessed the shooting ran after Johnson and passed two officers stationed in front of the Empire State Building. The worker alerted the officers of the situation and Johnson allegedly fired at the officers, who then opened fire on Johnson. In the cross fire, around nine people were either wounded or grazed by a bullet, though Kelly noted it is unlikely any were fatally injured. Six victims were taken to Bellevue, while three others were taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital. Two of the victims were women and seven were men, no children were involved in the shooting. Mayor Bloomberg did note that it is note clear at this point which victims were accidentally shot by NYPD officers. He wrapped up the press conference noting that much is still unknown about Johnson, his victim (whose identity is being held at the moment), and how the events of the shooting unfolded.
Update: The co-worker is now being identified as Johnson’s former boss Steve Ercolino, 41. A fellow co-worker reported that at one time Ercolino had a restraining order against Johnson. According to photos of the aftermath of the scene, Johnson was wearing a gray suit at the time of the shooting. The New York Times Metrodesk found Johnson’s Linkedin profile, which says that he attended Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, and was apparently running a t-shirt business out of his apartment. New York Times Metro is also reporting that Johnson did not shoot at law enforcement.
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