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Shooting by Empire State Building - gunman, victim dead

New York police officials have said a gunman and at least one other person are dead after a shooting near the Empire State Building. The incident, in a built-up area of Manhattan, sparked conflicting witness reports.

A shooter who lived in Manhattan was killed by police on Friday in central New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said officers returned fire after he threatened them. It was not immediately clear whether the man fired shots at the officers.

The man, thought to be in his early fifties, had worked at a company near the iconic Empire State Building, but not within the skyscraper. Preliminary reports suggested that he pulled a gun on a former co-worker, shooting her in the head and then fleeing. According to Bloomberg, a construction worker saw the incident and notified the police, who chased him down.

Two further women and seven men were shot in the crossfire, all apparently sustaining minor injuries that were not thought to be life-threatening. It was not clear whether the other victims were hit by the perpetrator or by police bullets.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Bloomberg both said the incident had "nothing to do with terrorism."

The New York mayor, an independent with past ties to both the Democrats and Republicans, concluded his preliminary press conference by saying: "There's an awful lot of guns out there."

msh/rc (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)