Two people shot dead and multiple injured after gunman opens fire outside Empire State Building following dispute with co-worker
Two people have been shot dead and as many as 10 injured after a gunman opened fire outside the Empire State Building following a dispute with a fellow worker.
Shots rang out just before 9 a.m. after the unidentified shooter stalked a colleague down a busy New York street before shooting him and opening fire indiscriminately on passersby, the New York Post reported.
Four people were shot and a total of 10 people suffered injuries in the gunfire outside the iconic New York City skyscraper. Two people were killed, a police source told Reuters.
NYPD officers swooped on the scene on foot and one, who was part of the Critical Response Vehicle unit, shot the gunman dead with a single shot.
Chaos: Four people have been shot by a gunman outside the Empire State Building. A helicopter shot shows the scene moments after the shooting, with one victim covered by a sheet, right
Down: An image shows a victim lying on the ground. All the victims have been rushed to hospital
The New York Post reported that the gunfire came after a dispute between coworkers, while other reports added that the man had just been fired from his job.
It is unclear what sparked the deadly argument, yet witnesses recounted the chaotic scene during rush hour in an area swarming with workers and tourists.
‘The gunshots were like a movie scene, everybody running in every direction and you can hear the gunshots everywhere not knowing where to run,’ witness Suzy El Ayoubi said on Twitter.
‘Gunshots just flew over my head. A young man just died in front of me!’ she added.
Jill Greenwood, who works as an account supervisor at Prosek Partners in the Empire State Building, told the Wall Street Journal that she heard several gun shots beginning at 9:04 a.m.
She said that people inside the building began yelling because an echo from the shots made it sound like the shooting was happening inside the building.
‘We heard these gunshots, it sounded like fireworks. So, we both got up and went to the window and looked down,’ Ms. Greenwood,30, told the WSJ.
A Reddit user under the name of Titan413, said they were on a bus when they witnessed the shooting.
‘At least four people got shot,’ they wrote. ‘Two on the northwest side of the street, one Empire State Building ticket guy in the middle of the crosswalk, and someone on the southwest corner. That was terrifying.
‘At first I thought it was a truck going over one of those metal plates in the street, but then everyone on the bus got on the floor and people on the street started running.’
Victims, some of whom were shot in the buttocks and legs, were taken to St. Luke’s Hospital and Bellevue.
Helicopter footage apparently showed the gunman lying on a stretcher in handcuffs, before officers placed a white sheet over his body.
A fire department spokesman said it received a call about the shooting just after at 9 a.m. and that emergency units were on the scene within minutes. The FBI confirmed it is not terror related.
Traffic was diverted as police swarmed the scene at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue.
Coincidentally, just minutes before the shooting, Mayor Bloomberg warned about the dangers of ‘too many guns on the streets’ on his weekly radio show.
While discussing proposed tougher gun laws in Albany shortly before 9a.m., he said: ‘The argument guns don’t kill people, people kill people is one of the most disingenuous things you can say.’
‘It does take a person to pull the trigger, but if they didn’t have the gun… We are the only developed country in the world with this problem,’ the mayor continued.