Mehdi Taamallah / AFP - Getty Images
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(C) and police commissioner Ray Kelly(R) hold a press conference after a shooting outside the Empire State Building on August 24.
After a shooting Friday morning in midtown Manhattan that left two people dead, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken gun control advocate, said “there’s an awful lot of guns out there.”
Although the city is “on track” to see a record low murder rate this year, the mayor said New York is “not immune to the national problem of gun violence” in this country.
Just last night, the Chicago Tribune reported that 19 people were shot in the South and West side portions of the city Thursday evening into Friday morning.
Bloomberg called on both political parties to tighten up the country's gun laws following the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater last month.
Calling it a “terrible thing,” the mayor, standing with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at a press conference near the scene Friday, sought to alleviate New Yorkers fears that the proximity of the shooting to the iconic Empire State Building could mean it was terrorism related.
“I want to assure everyone this is nothing to do with terrorism,” he said.
The shooter had a 45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, the commissioner added.
The suspect, Jeffrey Johnson, 58 of Manhattan, was shot dead after he turned his gun on responding police officers, the mayor and Commissioner Kelly said.
Johnson shot a 41-year-old former colleague of his from Hazan Imports (10 west 33rd St.), a designer of women’s apparel located next to the Empire State Building, where he was let go about a year ago, the officials said.
Nine others were shot during the incident, some of which may have been bystanders hit by responding officers, they added. All of them are expected to survive. There were two women and seven male victims; no children or elderly were among them, they said.
Bloomberg also praised a construction worker who followed the suspect and then alerted officers in the vicinity.
“When he saw something, he said something” the mayor said, referencing the city’s post-9/11 slogan. “And then [he] turned it over to the professionals.”
NBC News has more on the shooting.