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N.Y. Executive Kills 2 Co-Workers, Himself

Crime: The gunman was an ex-FBI agent. He was linked romantically to one victim, police say.

September 17, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — An insurance executive called two co-workers into his office near Times Square, shot them to death and then killed himself Monday morning, authorities said.

The motive was not immediately clear, but a police source told Associated Press that the gunman had been romantically involved with one of the victims. The other victim was a man.

The gunfire erupted on the 11th floor 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, 53, 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, N.J., office.

Two semiautomatic handguns, a .45-caliber and a 9-millimeter, 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, 34, and Isabel Munoz, 36. Harrison and both 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.

Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield leases three floors in the 25-story building. The company issued a statement late Monday describing the shooting as "a self-contained incident stemming from a dispute between the three employees involved."

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