Bloomberg: Shootings Friday were
not connected to the Empire State
Building or terrorism.

NEW YORK CITY-Two people were shot dead and nine bystanders were wounded when a disgruntled former employee at an accessories importer located near the Empire State Building followed his ex-boss down the street and killed him, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a press briefing Friday morning. The gunman then opened fire on pedestrians, and was himself killed by a policeman on foot patrol. At the briefing, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the shootings were unconnected to the landmark Midtown office tower and had “nothing to do with terrorism,” a point also made in a statement from Malkin Holdings, which controls the ESB.

Kelly identified the gunman as Jeffrey Johnson, 56, of Manhattan, a former employee of Hazan Import Co. at 10 W. 33rd St. who was laid off last year as the company downsized. His victim, a 41-year-old man, was not identified pending notification of relatives.

The incident shortly after 9 a.m. Friday on West 33rd Street sent nine bystanders to the hospital. Kelly and Bloomberg said their wounds were not life-threatening, and that all were expected to recover.

Bloomberg called the shootings “a terrible tragedy that would’ve been even more tragic but for some extraordinary acts of heroism” on the part of both civilians and police. He noted that although New York remains the safest big city in the US, “we are not immune to the national problem of gun violence.”

Details of the incident were still sketchy, Bloomberg told reporters. Fifth Avenue was closed between 33rd and 42nd streets as police continued investigating, and several blocks along 33rd and 34th streets were also closed off.