a disgruntled laid-off women's accessories designer shot a former co-worker to death in front of the empire state building yesterday. the incident took place just after 9:00 am, causing a chaotic showdown with police, who killed the suspect. at least nine others were wounded, some possibly by police gunfire, city officials said.
some of the wounded were grazed by bullets & others hit directly, but all were expected to survive, officials said. the gunshots rang out on the fifth avenue side of the building at a time of day when the sidewalks are packed with consumers, employees, merchants, students & tourists. after the shootout, 34th street between park avenue & sixth avenue was shut down. police helicopters buzzed overhead & swarms of officers gathered around the tragic crime scene.
jeffrey johnson, 53, was laid-off a year ago at hassan imports. he confronted a 41 year-old former colleague & shot him in the head, police commissioner ray kelly said. apparently, the two had traded accusations of harassment when johnson worked there. johnson walked away after shooting him, but a construction worker who witnessed the encounter followed johnson & alerted police, officials said.
johnson then turned his .45 caliber pistol on the two officers & they traded gunfire, killing johnson. although it's not clear how many shots johnson fired at the officers, they fired a total of 14 shots, some of which wounded people nearby. johnson worked at the company almost six years & was laid-off because due to downsizing.
"we were just working here & we heard bang, bang, bang!", said mohammed bachchu, 22, of queens, a worker at a nearby souvenir shop. he rushed from the building & saw seven people lying on the ground, covered in blood. another queens resident, rebecca fox, 27, said she people running down the street & initially thought it was a celebrity sighting, but then saw a woman shot in the foot & a man dead on the ground.
said fox, "i was scared & shocked & literally shaking...it was like csi, but it was real." she said police seemed to appear in seconds. hassam cissa, 22, of the bronx, said he saw two bodies on the ground & police applying a white cloth to a man's stomach wound. gunshots outside one of new york's leading tourist attractions prompted fears of terrorism, but federal officials said that wasn't the case. a guard at skyscraper said it didn't involve the parts of the building where tourists gather to visit the skyscraper.
the gunfire came less than two weeks after a knife-wielding man was shot dead by police near times square, another popular tourist site. authorities said police shot 51 year-old darrius kennedy after he lunged at officers with a kitchen knife august 12. kennedy was smoking marijuana in times square on a saturday afternoon when officers first approached him. it was the beginning of an encounter stretching seven crowded blocks.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.