2 killed outside Empire State Building & Several shot

Aug 24, 201

At least four people were shot Friday morning outside the Empire State Building by an apparently disgruntled ex-employee of a business inside the building, officials told NBC News. Two people are dead, including the suspected gunman.

The gunman, Jeffrey Johnson, 53, was shot and killed by police after he opened fire on two policemen, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.  

As many as eight others were being treated for various injuries. Their conditions are unknown at this time. 

Police said Johnson tried to enter the Empire State Building and planned to target his boss, but security guards stopped him because they knew he was fired the day before, sources told Jonathan Dienst of NBCNewYork.com.

There were unconfirmed reports the suspect then waited outside and fired at his boss, before unleashing bullets at bystanders. Law enforcement officials emphasize that the shooting did not appear to be terror-related.

"I heard pop, pop, pop, pop, and I ran back into my offices,” a witness, Gloria Walker, told NBC News. "I ran, I ran, I ran,” she said when she heard it. 

The FDNY told NBC News they responded to a call about the shooting at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street at 9:07 a.m. Friday and arrived at 9:13 a.m.

The streets at that hour were crowded with tourists and commuters alike.

More than 21,000 employees work in the building each day in one of its 1,000 businesses, making the Empire State Building the second-largest single office complex in the U.S., after the Pentagon. 

NBC News confirms the gunman who opened fire at the Empire State Building is dead. The New York Police Department is reporting that at least four people have been shot outside the building. NBC's Luke Russert and Lester Holt reports.

In 1997, a 69-year-old man opened fire on the observation deck of the iconic landmark, killing one person and wounding six before shooting himself in the head, according to NBCNewYork.com. The gunman, Ali Abu Kamal, was taken to the hospital, where he died more than five hours after self-inflicting the fatal wound.

Law enforcement officials believe the 1997 attack was pre-meditated.


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