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Empire State Building shooting: Two dead, 9 injured as fired designer goes postal

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The suspect, preliminarily identified as Jeffrey Johnson, 53, was a “disgruntled former employee” of a company located outside the Empire State Building, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. Hazan Imports, where Johnson worked as a designer of women’s accessories before the company was downsized, sacked him roughly a year ago.

Bystanders and police look on as a man lies on the sidewalk after a shooting incident near the Empire State Building in New York August 24, 2012. (Reuters//Mickey C. Marrero)

Friday, Johnson returned to his former workplace and waited on a sidewalk near the landmark building. Shooting an ex-colleague in the head at a close range, Johnson attempted to flee the scene.

Witnessing the incident, a construction worker alerted two police officers, who pursued Johnson up West 33rd Street into Fifth Avenue. When they approached Johnson, he pulled a .45 caliber handgun from a black briefcase and started shooting. The officers returned fire making some 14 rounds in total, Kelly continued. The former designer sustained a fatal shot and died.

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