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Two people killed in Empire State shooting

Reuters

Two people have been killed and at least eight wounded in a shooting outside the landmark Empire State Building in New York City on Friday.

A shooting at the Empire State Building has left two people dead and at least eight wounded. (AP)

One of the dead was the shooter, according to a New York police source, adding that there was no apparent link to terrorism.

The man who police say opened fire was identified as Jeffrey Johnson, a disgruntled former worker of a nearby women's fashion accessories designer, New York officials said.

Johnson (53) previously had lost his job at Hazan Import Coporation, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a news conference near the scene in New York's midtown Manhattan.

Johnson and another person were killed and eight people were wounded. All of the injured victims are expected to survive, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the press conference.

"I heard the gunshots," said Dahlia Anister (33), who works at an office near the 102-story Empire State Building. "It was like pop, pop, pop. It was definitely in a bunch." The victims were shot shortly after 9am (1300 GMT) on the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue outside the building in Midtown Manhattan.

The shooting broke out at the height of the tourist season outside one of New York City's most popular attractions, startling tourists and commuters in one of the busiest areas of the city. The building is two blocks from Pennsylvania Station, one of New York City's main transportation hubs. 

The United States has had two other mass shooting cases this summer. On July 20, James Holmes (24) allegedly opened fire at a midnight screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58.

On August 5, a gunman killed six people and critically wounded three at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee before police shot him dead in an attack authorities treated as an act of domestic terrorism.

The Empire State Building was the world's tallest building for 40 years from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Centre. Following the September 11 2001, attacks, it was again the tallest building in the city. – Reuters

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