A shooting and subsequent shoot-out with police near the vicinity of the Empire State Building this morning left two people killed, including the gunman, and at least nine others wounded. The incident first began shortly after 9:00 AM outside 10 W 33rd Street, where the gunman was a former employee at a company in the building. The gunman, identified as 53-year-old Jeffery Johnson, was fired nearly a year ago from Hazan Imports, a women’s accessories company. Johnson confronted his former colleague on the sidewalk outside the building and fatally shot him in the head three times at close range. According to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Johnson ran from the scene before being confronted by police outside the Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue. The gunman was killed during a shoot-out with two police officers. The investigation is ongoing and additional details are expected to emerge throughout the day.
- The gunman used a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun. He initially killed his former coworker before running away from the scene. His victim has not yet been publicly identified, but was reportedly a 41-year-old male.
- A construction worker followed Johnson and alerted two police officers who were on post for counterterrorism duties outside the Empire State Building Fifth Avenue entrance. Johnson pulled his gun and fired on the officers. The two officers returned fire, killing the shooter.
- Nine others, two women and seven men, were hit by gunfire. Six were taken to Bellevue Hospital and three others were taken to New York Presbyterian. According to Mayor Bloomberg, some may have been hit by police bullets during the exchange of gunfire, but all are expected to make full recoveries.
- The area around the Empire State Building remains an active crime scene. Streets in the vicinity are closed to traffic at this time.
It has been reported that Johnson first attempted to gain entry to the building at 10 W 33rd Street before being denied access by security. In this case, active security measures and security personnel prevented the individual from entering the building and potentially endangering others in the facility. The construction worker who alerted police of the activity and location of the attacker showcases the importance of vigilance and the reporting of suspicious/criminal activity to the appropriate authorities.
The return of a former employee to a facility is always questionable. Security personnel should take caution and confront individuals with past connections to a facility or a company who may reappear on the grounds or in the vicinity of the facility for an unknown/unclear reason. Security personnel are advised to question suspect individuals as well as utilize their training and techniques for dealing with workplace violence. Additionally, it is advisable to maintain a list of former employees, who left employment for other than positive reasons. This list should be maintained indefinitely to potentially identify an individual returning to your place of business that may have a vendetta or issue to settle.
Contact MSA for information on armed guards and workplace violence along with active shooter response training for the private sector. To learn more about MSA's authority as an expert in handling active shooter incidents, see the MSA Golden 15 active shooter training strategy.