The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) – An insurance executive called two co-workers into his office near Times Square, shot them to death and then killed himself yesterday morning, authorities say.
The motive was not immediately clear, but a police source told The Associated Press that the gunman had been romantically involved with one of the victims.
The third victim was a man.
The gunfire erupted on the 11th floor at about 8:20 a.m., well before most employees had arrived at Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s offices on Broadway near 40th Street.
The gunman was identified by police as John Harrison, a vice president in the insurance company’s fraud investigations unit. He was a former FBI agent who last worked in Trenton, N.J., before leaving the bureau in 1989, according to Sandra Carroll, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Newark office.
Two semiautomatic handguns, a .45-caliber and a 9mm, were found on the floor.
A third gun was also found in the office, and police believe all three belonged to the executive.
“We heard some sounds. I thought it was maybe thunder or a truck,” said Richard Restrepo, an electrician who was working on the ninth floor. “Twenty minutes later, my boss comes in and says, `Everyone out.’ He saw all the cop cars in the street and thought maybe it was a bomb scare.”
The victims were identified as Vincent LaBianca and Isabel Munoz. All three victims were found in the executive’s 15-by-15-foot corner office, police said.
A police source said a witness reported that the vice president had called the two others into his office.
A message left at Harrison’s home in New Jersey was not returned.
Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield leases three floors in the 25-story building.
The company issued a statement late yesterday describing the shooting as “a self-contained incident stemming from a dispute between the three employees involved.”
Maria Psomas of Bloomingdale, N.J., who works on the eighth floor, said she moved to the New York area a year ago from Minneapolis.
“I’ve never been this close to where something like this happened,” she said. “I’m hoping my parents don’t hear about it.”