NEW YORK — At least four people were shot outside New York City’s Empire State Building on Friday morning and the gunman was dead, New York City officials said. A witness said the gunman was firing indiscriminately.
The shootings occurred just outside the city’s iconic skyscraper, a massive tourist attraction, at the height of the summer travel season and just after the morning rush hour.
Police said as many as 10 people were injured, but it is unclear how many were hit by bullets.
A law enforcement official said the shooting was related to a workplace dispute. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
It was not immediately clear whether one or two people were killed. Resident Hassam Cissa said he arrived minutes after the shooting and saw two bodies on the ground.
Federal officials said the shooting wasn’t related to terrorism. A guard at the landmark said it didn’t involve the parts of the building where tourists gather to visit the skyscraper.
Construction worker Chris Ogden told the Daily News tabloid he was working on a scaffold above one entrance to the building when he saw someone in a suit and carrying a briefcase start shooting.
“He shot the guy in the head,” Ogden told the newspaper. “The guy went down. He took a second shot when he was down.”
Ogden said then casually walked away. “We were screaming from the top, ’It’s the guy in the grey suit!”’ Ogden said.
Aliyah Imam told Fox 5 News television she was standing at a red light when a woman standing next to her fell to the ground. She said the woman was hit in the hip.
The gunman was “shooting indiscriminately at people,” Imam said.
A body remained at the scene more than an hour after the shooting. Police scoured the area for bullets.
Witness Rebecca Fox told CNN that she saw a woman who was shot in the foot, and another woman showed her a photo of someone who had been shot in the head. “It was just very gruesome,” Fox said. “It was just a crazy scene.”
A fire department spokesman said it received a call about the shooting just after at 9 a.m. (1300 GMT) Friday and that emergency units were on the scene within minutes.
The Empire State Building is perched at one of the city’s busiest areas. The website for the building says about four million people visit the tower’s observatory decks each year, and sidewalks outside the building bustle with people selling tickets for its attractions.
Many others are shoppers drawn to stores along both 34th Street and Fifth Avenue. The shooting occurred at their intersection.