NEW YORK CITY — One of the most popular tourist attractions in the world was thrown into chaos Friday morning, after a disgruntled designer fired from his job shot and killed his former manager outside the Empire State Building, sparking a wild shootout with police that sent at least nine others to the hospital, officials said.
Passerby dove for cover as Jeffrey Johnson, 58, shot down former coworker Steven Ercolino, 41, at West 33rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue, then tried to flee past the Empire State Building, sources said.
The dramatic scene was captured on a host of cellphone and video cameras as police, who were warned about the gunman by an eagle-eyed construction worker, confronted the gunman and then shot him to death when he pulled out his gun, sources said.
Among the most shocking were the photos of Ercolino shot and left laying on the sidewalk on 33rd Street between in front of the Heartland Brewery.
Nine other people — two women and seven men — were shot and injured, although it was not clear if they were hit by the gunman or police, who fired 14 times, sources said.
"We want to keep these victims in our thoughts and in our prayers," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.