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Police Cite Motive in N.Y. Shootings

September 18, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — An insurance executive who killed two co-workers and himself had recently received an e-mail from one of the victims ending their relationship, investigators said Tuesday.

The shootings took place at Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield's offices near Times Square, where the health insurance company temporarily relocated after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The employees found dead had escaped from the World Trade Center.

John Harrison, a former FBI agent and assistant vice president at Empire Blue Cross, apparently called subordinates Vincent LaBianca, 34, and Isabel Munoz, 36, into his office Monday morning, well before most employees had arrived.

Wielding two semiautomatic pistols, Harrison, 53, fired more than a dozen shots before killing himself.

Police said Harrison had been in a relationship with Munoz. Shortly before the shootings, Munoz sent Harrison an e-mail saying, in effect, that she had not wanted him to leave his wife and that she did not want their affair to continue, investigators said.

Investigators said Harrison had recently moved out of his family's New Jersey home and into an apartment so he could continue the affair with Munoz.

Initially, investigators had said Monday's shooting stemmed from an apparent love triangle. However, a police official speaking to Associated Press on condition of anonymity said Tuesday that detectives had found no evidence suggesting Munoz and LaBianca had any romantic connection.

Unable to find any evidence to support the love-triangle theory, Harrison's motive for killing LaBianca remained unclear, the police source said.

The three colleagues worked in the company's fraud investigation unit.

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