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Bloomberg: 'Safest big city' not immune to national problem of gun violence

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other politicians decried gun violence Friday after nine people were shot and one killed in a shootout near the Empire State Building. 

The gunman was killed by police after the shooting. 

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This is the third major shooting in a matter of months in the U.S. after killings at a Colorado movie theater and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Bloomberg and some Democrats in Congress have called for tougher gun laws in their wake, but there appears to be little chance that legislation will move. 

One reason is that neither major party presidential candidate is calling for tougher gun legislation. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have said steps can be taken to prevent deadly shootings without passing new legislation. 

Bloomberg, one of the nation's foremost critics of national guns laws, said the killings show that no cities are immune to gun violence. 

"New York City, as you know, is the safest big city in the country and we are on pace to have a record low number of murders this year but we are not immune to the national problem of gun violence," Bloomberg said.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) released a statement just as Bloomberg finished speaking, giving his condolences to the victims and their families and calling for stricter gun laws.

"I am shaken by the news that a man randomly shot at innocent people at the Empire State Building, especially at an hour when many New Yorkers are starting their workday and hundreds of tourists are visiting. My thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and the families and friends who lost their loved ones. I hope that those who are wounded will heal quickly and recover from the psychological harm that they endured.

The suspect in the New York shooting is Jeffrey Johnson, a "former disgruntled employee," who shot and killed a former co-worker at 9:03 a.m. The suspect, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said, then walked northbound with his .45 caliber handgun. 

Two police officers were alerted to the situation by a nearby construction worker and approached the suspect. Johnson then opened fire on the police officers. Some bystanders were shot as a result of crossfire between Johnson and New York police.

Kelly said Johnson lost his job as a designer of women's accessories at Hazan Imports more than a year ago.

"What I want to do is assure everybody that his has nothing to do with terrorism," Bloomberg said. "There is clearly a murder here and a murder victim."

Obama was informed of the shooting by national security adviser John Brennan at 9:30 a.m., according to a White House official. The official said the president would continue to receive updates throughout the day. 

Later Friday, at a campaign rally in Michigan, Romney briefly addressed the shooting.

"Our hearts goes out to those who were affected by that," Romney said. "The first-responders who were there, we appreciate their service and their dedication."

—This story was first posted at 10:23 a.m. and has been updated.