NEW YORK (RNN) – City officials named the shooter who opened fire outside the Empire State Building on Friday, killing at least one and injuring several others.
Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Jeffrey Johnson, 53, of Manhattan fatally shot a former coworker at Hazan Imports, a nearby business, around 9:03 a.m. ET with a .45-caliber handgun. He carried the handgun in a black bag.
Authorities identified the victim as a 41-year-old Steven Ercolino, vice president of sales with Hazan, according to the Associated Press.
Kelly said a construction worker followed Johnson after the shooting and alerted two uniformed NYPD officers on Fifth Avenue. The shooter faced down the officers outside the Empire State Building, who returned fire and killed him.
“Tape clearly showed he had the gun out, trying to fire at the officers,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the news conference.
The building is heavily wired for video surveillance, so there should be ample footage for the police to review.
Bloomberg said nine others were injured from the shooting – either from the shooter or officers’ gunfire – but all were expected to survive. The victims were two women and seven men.
Six of the victims had been admitted to Bellevue Hospital, with the other three going to New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Bloomberg also said Johnson had been let go by Hazan about a year ago, and he did not appear to have a prior criminal record.
The Fire Department of New York told NBC News they responded to a call of a shooting around 9:07 a.m. ET, as tourists were lining up to enter the building. An elevator operator heard the gunshots and screams and chased down the shooter while calling the police.
The body was left about 20 feet from the observatory entrance, where tourists go in.
Officials ruled out terrorism for the motive.
President Barack Obama received a briefing on the incident at 9:30 a.m.
According to NBC News, this was not the first shooting at the Empire State Building. In 1997, Ali Abu Kamal, 69, opened fire on the observation deck of the building.
Kamal killed one and injured six before killing himself.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, notable landmarks in New York City, like the Empire State Building, have increased security.
It is the second largest single-office complex in the country, with about 15,000 people working there. It opened May 1, 1931, and more than 10,000 people visit the building each day.
Article Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News
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