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Following the mass shootings first in Aurora, Colorado and then at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, the shooting outside the Empire State Building in New York marks the third mass shooting this summer in the United States. The incident occurred at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, near New York’s most famous skyscraper.
Just after 9AM, local time, a gunman opened fire in the street near the Empire State Building. According to the New York Post, two men who were coworkers started arguing in the street during the morning rush. They began fighting on the pavement when one of them drew a gun and shot the other fatally in the head, after striking him three times. The shooter then put his gun in his black bag and walked away from the scene.
A local construction worker, Chris Ogden, saw the gunman opening fire and then informed officers near the Empire State Building. New York Police Department arrived at the scene within a few minutes after receiving the emergency call. The New York Police Department officers, who were on foot, confronted the gunman who turned to his gun and fired at them. One of the officers killed the gunman in the confrontation. Police later confirmed that the gunman had indeed been shot dead.
Counting the shooter, there were a total of two deaths at the scene and nine more people were injured — four women and five men. Some of them may have been shot accidentally by officers, but they have all been taken to a number of hospitals in the city and fortunately none of them were seriously wounded. They are all expected to recover quickly.
The FBI has confirmed that the shooting was not terrorist-related. The incident was nothing more than a workplace dispute, but still caused a sense of panic in the city of New York, whose inhabiters have lived through all too familiar scenes in the past.
Police commissioner Ray Kelly identified the shooter as Jeffrey Johnson, aged 53. Johnson shot his 41-year-old former manager using a 45 caliber semiautomatic handgun. The shooter was a Hazan Imports employee for the last six years, designing women’s accessories and clothes and he had been fired from his job about a year ago as part of downsizing in the company. While the incident took place near the the Empire State Building, the landmark was not otherwise connected to the shooting.
New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, one of America’s biggest gun law reform advocates, said that “soothing words are nice, but maybe it is time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it,” expressing his discontent for both President Obama and his republican rival Mitt Romney.
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