Workplace Violence Claims Lives of Three in NYC Office

Having survived the destruction of the World Trade Center a year ago, workers at Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield's office in Manhattan once again reeled from violence brought into their workplace. This time, a coworker was to blame.

John Harrison, a former FBI agent and a vice president in the insurance company's fraud division, shot two coworkers Monday before turning the gun on himself.

Witnesses say that Harrison called the two employees, Isabel Munoz and Vincent LaBianca, into his office, shot them, and then turned the gun on himself. Harrison was allegedly involved with Munoz, who allegedly also was involved with LaBianca.

In a statement, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield the company called the shooting "a self-contained incident stemming from a dispute between the three employees involved."

Police found two semiautomatic handguns and a third gun in Harrison's office and believe all three belonged to him. Witnesses say the shots sounded like thunder or a truck backfiring, and most were unaware what had occurred until they were asked to evacuate the building about 20 minutes after the shooting.

Many, hearing sirens and seeing police and rescue vehicles feared that it was a bomb scare. Empire relocated to the offices on Broadway following the World Trade Center disaster. The company was originally headquartered on the 28th floor of the North Tower, and workers had to flee for their lives on Sept. 11.

"We had to live through the horror of that day," said one employee. "Now we have to live through this."

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