New York authorities reported that a gunman opened fire in a local federal building in lower Manhattan on Friday killing a security with a handgun. Local police reported that the suspect entered the building just after 5 p.m. and immediately shot the guard. He then proceeded towards an elevator where he was intercepted by another employee and then proceeded to shoot himself in the head. NYPD Chief of Police James O’Neill identified the security guard as Idrissa Camara who was rushed by ambulance to Lenox Health Greenwich Village facility where he was declared on arrival. Camara worked for FJC Security Services which has a contract with the building, which houses an immigration court and a Veterans Health administration services office.
O’Neill identified the gunman as Kevin Downing. Downing is a veteran and former employee with the Bureau of Labor Statistics who lived in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Police still do not have a motive for this shooting but confirmed the investigation is still in its earliest stages. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told reporters outside of the building Friday night that he hoped to have the chance to express condolences to Camara’s family. He visited with federal employees inside the building to offer support, he said. O’Neill appears to have ruled out terrorism as a motive.
Law enforcement converged on Downing’s home in New Jersey Friday evening, and armored tactical teams were seen entering neighbors’ homes to safely bring them out as they awaited a court order to begin searching Downing’s house, which was in foreclosure, according to relatives and neighbors. The president of the Union representing the guard released a statement sending condolences to the guard’s family. “Security officers around the city and country serve on the front line each and every day to keep us safe and secure. We are heartbroken that one of our own has fallen,” said Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU. “We hope some of our questions in the face of this terrible tragedy will be answered. For now, we are keeping his family and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers.”
Speaking to reporters later, John J. Miller, a deputy commissioner of the police department, said that Mr. Downing once worked for the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. He said the bureau has an office in 201 Varick Street, but police did not know if Mr. Downing was employed there. The shooting turned the normally bustling neighborhood into chaos. The street in front of the federal building was roped off by yellow caution tape, while a helicopter flew overhead. There were no other suspects, and the building was secured as of just before 7 p.m.