NEW YORK: Two persons were shot dead and at least eight more badly wounded when a gunman opened fire at several people outside the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York City officials said.
NYC police said that the gunman who shot indiscriminately at people has been shot dead.
A police source said the assailant, who worked nearby, was believed to be a disgruntled employee who fired at a person against whom he had a grievance. The nature of the grievance was not known.
The victims were shot shortly after 9 a.m. on the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue outside the landmark building in Midtown Manhattan. The building is two blocks from Pennsylvania Station, one of New York City's main transportation hubs.
"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 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 Center. Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, it was again the tallest building in the city. (Reuters)
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