Investigators are unfolding details after a man, believed to be a disgruntled employee, opened fire outside the Empire State Building Friday morning, causing chaos as New Yorkers headed to work.
New York City Police said two people died, including the gunman, and nine others were wounded near the building frequented by tourists.
The gunshots immediately raised concerns of terrorism, but federal officials assured the incident was not likely an act of terror.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Jeffrey Johnson, 58, was laid off about a year ago from Hazan Imports Corporation. The attack was believed to be targeted at his 41-year-old former boss whom the gunman shot dead.
Kelly said Johnson was later shot and killed by police.
"These officers ... had absolutely no choice," Kelly explained. "This individual took a gun out very close to them and perhaps fired at them."
The gunshots rang out at a time when the sidewalks around the Empire State Building were packed with tourists, residents on their way to work, and merchants opening their shops.
"The girl that was running next to me fell down to the pavement, and when I looked at her, I could see that she had been hit in the leg. She was bleeding from the leg," one eyewitness George King, who was walking to work at the time, said.
"I thank God that I'm not injured, but it's scary," witness Diana Collado added.
Christian leader Mac Pier, with the New York City Leadership Center, called the shooting a "terrible tragedy whatever the reason or motive."
"The tragedy is also a reminder that we need the presence of God," he continued. "And God's people in more and greater ways to leaven against this great, daily possibility of large scale, senseless violence."
The nine people wounded in the gunfire are expected to survive. Some of the wounded were just grazed by bullets