A gunman fired shots at a Gowanus iron shop earlier this morning, wounding two before barricading himself inside a building and killing himself. According to local police, a report of gunfire came in at around 11:20am. The suspect opened fire at C&A Iron Works on 13th Street and Hamilton Place after allegedly looking for a job there.
At approximately 11:17am the man, whose identity remains unknown, pulled a gun out of a black bag and fired several rounds, hitting two workers. One was shot in the torso, but the injuries of the other are unclear since witnesses were already on the run at that time. The victims were brought to Lutheran Medical Center, where one remains in critical condition, and the other stable.
Police quickly sealed off 13th street between Hamilton Place and Second Avenue, attempting to reach a peaceful solution to the standoff with the shooter. Emergency Service Units, Technical Assistance Response Units, and negotiators were all on the scene securing the area. Police cruisers, vans, ambulances, black Escalades, an armored truck, and a number of other emergency vehicles swarmed the streets. A number of officers patrolled the perimeter while others geared up in Kevlar vests and helmets. Even helicopters circled the industrial Gowanus neighborhood, sandwiched between Red Hook and the affluent Park Slope.
Reports of hostages filled the air with tension, heightened by rumors of a bomb threat that traveled among news crews and witnesses. Police ultimately relayed that the man had barricaded himself in an office alone: the shooter had holed himself up with a gun to his head before their arrival. Authorities also assured citizens that there was no bomb on the scene.
The man shot another worker before tossing a metal object with many wires outside the shop and running across the street to another building. Police brought in several bomb squad officers in full helmets and body armor to search the area. Checking car trunks from 13th street down to the Pathmark parking lot at the end of the block, no bomb was found. Police later disclosed that the object in question was just a lead pipe.
Dzmitry Tabakin, 28, was working at C&A when the man entered this morning. Though he remains unidentified by the police, Tabakin alleges that he was a resident of Coney Island’s private Sea Gate community. Tabakin also claims that the gunman never even made it to the ironwork’s boss before he began shooting. Pulling the gun out of his bag, the shooter held it to a worker named Oscar and fired. At that point, the other ironworkers had to flee the scene.
Other witnesses were present on the scene, recounting the incident to members of the press. Several, including Dzmitry, were Ukrainian and needed translators to convey what they saw. Others are of Latino descent. According to one worker, the business works mainly on welding support beams for framing construction on buildings and houses. The workplace itself is typically very loud, and for this reason many did not immediately realize that bullets had been fired.
The incident supposedly began when a man entered the workshop, looking to speak to the manager about a job. Though he was directed to the management office upstairs, witnesses say he never actually made it to the office before he opened fire.
Though police had not yet made an official announcement regarding the incident, word soon got out that the suspect had taken his own life and was pronounced dead. Officers retained the perimeter around the street, allowing neither press nor citizens on the block.
While still awaiting an official briefing, one local man began asking the police whether or not the area was safe, and if he could return to work. Others continued about their daily business without interruption; several groups of individuals stepped simply passed by the police tape in the parking lot to go to shopping at Pathmark on Hamilton Place.
Information on the shooter’s identity and background has yet to be disclosed, and details regarding whether or not the man was actually denied employment remain unclear. What is certain is that the standoff is over, the victims are being treated, and police are thoroughly investigating the matter.