Two killed, at least eight injured in Empire State Building shooting

Online Staff Report

Two people have been killed and at least eight injured in an Aug. 24 shooting outside New York’s Empire State Building.

The shooting began shortly after 9 a.m., Friday, on the busy sidewalk on Fifth Avenue.

One of the dead was the suspected shooter, 53-year-old Jeffrey Johnson, a former employee of a store inside the Empire State Building. Johnson was believed to be a disgruntled former employee who fired at a person against whom he had a grievance. According to witnesses, Johnson opened fire with a large gun.

A security guard chased the assailant down Fifth Avenue and alerted police, who shot Johnson at least three times.

The shooting came at the peak of the tourist season outside one of New York City’s most prominent attractions. About 4 million people visit the building’s two observation decks each year.

Police had blocked off the area around the building following the shooting, but the Empire State Building Company said in a statement Friday morning that “the building is fully operational at this time.”

The area around the building typically has a large security presence.

The Empire State Building, erected in 1931, stood as the world’s tallest building for 40 years, until the construction of the World Trade Center. Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the building was again the city’s tallest building. A new tower under construction at the World Trade Center has now surpassed the Empire State Building in height.

The Empire State Building stands at 102 stories, 1,453 feet and reaches more than a quarter-mile into the sky.

The Aug. 24 shooting outside the Empire State Building is the second high-profile shooting in New York’s tourist-heavy midtown Manhattan in the past two weeks. New York City police shot and killed a man with a knife in Times Square Aug. 12 as he attempted to evade police amid Saturday afternoon traffic and pedestrians.

The shooting is the third prominent shooting in the United States this summer. Twelve people were killed and 58 injured in a shooting at a suburban Denver theater July 20 and six were killed and three critically wounded in a shooting at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee Aug. 5.

Posted Aug. 24, 2012

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