Midtown shooting

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

August 24, 2012 12:53:50 PM PDT
It's the one place you do not want to be in New York City: The scene of a police shootout on the street.

There are so many people, so many innocent bystanders, that the chances of people other than the "perp" getting shot are high.

Especially at about 9 in the morning outside the Empire State Building in Midtown Manhattan. The streets near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street are teeming with tourists and workers and shoppers and people on buses and in cabs.

And those who were there this morning saw blood and violence.

A women's accessories designer who was laid off last year, shot and killed his former manager just outside the Empire State Building, in front of a lot of people.

He shot him in the head, at close range. Those who saw, and many of them took pictures, captured a bloody scene, too gruesome for us to put on the air.

There were cops patrolling the area, part of the NYPD's counter-terrorism effort to keep a close eye on potential targets like the Empire State Building, and they confronted the man, who, according to police Commissioner Ray Kelly fired on the officers.

The cops then returned fire and killed the man. From the air in Newscopter 7, we counted at least 25 "evidence markers" at the scene.

We assume most if not all were bullet casings and we assume most were fired by the police.

Officials are admitting that some of the 9 innocent people who were wounded by gunfire, at least some of them, because we don't know if it's 1 or all 9 were accidentally shot by the police.

As I said at the top, a police shootout on the streets of New York City is not a place where you want to be.

Tonight at 11, we look closely at what happened this morning the victims, the laid off worker who became a killer, the question of workplace violence and how you can protect yourself, and the role of police officers who are required to take target practice just once a year opening fire on crowded streets.

We're also wondering about the shooter 58-year-old Jeffrey Johnson, and how many people may have known or had an inkling of his year-long pent-up anger about being laid off.

See something, say something? Did no one see what was happening to this man? I'm just sayin'. Certainly, the construction worker who saw Johnson right after the shooting, did something. He followed Johnson until cops could confront him.

And, as it happens, a similar question is now being raised in Aurora, Colorado, where James Holmes, the man accused of killing all those people in the movie theatre, apparently told people 4 months before his rampage, that he wanted to kill people. See something, say something?

Then there's Lance Armstrong, who survived cancer but couldn't survive the doping scandal that has swirled around him for years. He gave up his fight to challenge the allegations against him, as we reported last night at 11,

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's weekend AccuWeather forecast and the latest on the track of Tropical Storm Isaac, and Laura Behnke (in for Rob Powers) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

And a note about this note: I'll be in Tampa starting Sunday night at 11, covering the Republican National Convention. I'll be writing this column from Florida next week.


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