NEW YORK -- Police say two people, including the gunman, are dead and at least one other person was shot outside the Empire State Building Friday morning.
Police responding opened fire on the suspect, killing him, sources said. At least seven others were hurt in a possible stampede as thousands of terrified bystanders tried to flee.
Authorities said emergency personnel received a call about the shooting at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street just after 9 a.m. and that units were on the scene within minutes. The FBI is also on the scene.
Three sources said the gunman was a disgruntled employee who was fired Thursday from his job inside the building. A source on the scene said the shooter may have been targeting a coworker, who is believed to have been killed, before opening fire on bystanders.
Witnesses described the shooter as a tall man in a gray suit.
Friday morning, the gunman tried to enter the Empire State Building, but security officials would not let him in, sources said. He then waited for his boss outside the building, apparently to target the boss in a revenge attack. Sources said the boss and the shooter had been having problems for several weeks.
At least one person was seen being taken away in a stretcher.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was scheduled to hold a news conference at 11 a.m.
Anyone traveling in the area is advised to expect road closures and detours.
In 1997, a 69-year-old man opened fire on the observation deck of the iconic landmark, killing one person and wounding six before shooting himself in the head. The gunman, Ali Abu Kamal, was taken to the hospital, where he died more than five hours after self-inflicting the fatal wound.
Law enforcement officials believe the 1997 attack was pre-meditated.
(NBC New York)