America awoke to its third deadly shooting incident in barely two months when news emerged on Friday morning of two people killed and nine wounded in the vicinity of the Empire State Building in New York City.
Initial comments from NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly suggested that the shooter was Jeffrey Johnson (53), apparently a disgruntled worker laid off from a women’s apparel store a year ago.
His primary victim, who was shot in the head at close range, was a former co-worker, whose identity police said they would not be releasing until the individual’s family had been notified.
After killing that person Johnson apparently fled the scene on foot, however carrying a .45 calibre handgun “secreted under a black bag on his arm.” According to witnesses at the scene, Johnson was wearing a business suit and carrying a briefcase, allowing him to blend in with the office-going crowd.
However when a construction worker who witnessed the event alerted two police officers, they approached Johnson. When he fired upon them they returned fire and Johnson was killed on the spot, the Commissioner said to media.
President Barack Obama was said to have been notified of the shooting within the hour, by around 9:30 am local time, although authorities said to media that they did not consider it a terrorism-related incident.
Johnson, who was said to not have any prior criminal record, used to work for a women’s fashion accessory company, Hazan Imports, from where he had been fired earlier. The person that he killed in the store was said to be 41 years of age.
Among the nine victims injured, said to be two women and seven men, Mr. Bloomberg noted that the expectation was that “they will do nothing except recover quickly.” Both he and the Commissioner confirmed that some individuals had been injured in crossfire from police officers as they fired upon Johnson.