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A New Jersey veteran walked into the federal building at 201 Varick St. Friday, fatally shot a 53-year-old security guard, made a mad dash for the elevators, and then killed himself when another building employee confronted him, police said.


The NYPD identified the gunman as 68-year-oldKevin Downing of Fort Lee, N.J. He died at the scene.


The dead guard, who worked for a private firm contracted to Homeland Security, was identified as Idrissa Camara, of Harlem. He was rushed to nearbyLenox Hill Healthplexin Greenwich Village, where he later succumbed.


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The violence erupted shortly after 5 p.m. at the Soho building, which holds an Immigration Court, Post Office andVeterans Administration office, among others.


The NYPD at 9 p.m. updated reporters withthis statement from Chief of Department James O'Neill:

"At approximately 5:05 PM an individual identified as Kevin Downing, 68, walked into the federal building at 201 Varick Street. As he approached the metal detector in the security screening area, the man pulled out a gun and shot the security officer at close range. The security officer, Idrissa Camara, 53, was employed by FJC security services under contract to the Department of Homeland Security.

"After shooting the officer, the suspect proceeded through the security area and turned the gun on himself. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

"At this time it appears there were no other suspects on the scene and the building is secure. We are at the preliminary stages of this investigation based on what we know now. At this point there is no indication of a nexus to terrorism.

"Mr. Downing is a former federal employee and resided in Fort Lee, NJ. His residence has been secured while we await a court authorized search warrant. We are at the very early stages of this investigation and are working to establish his motive for coming here, if he had an intended target beyond the security officer, and what the motive was behind this crime."

Camarawasn't supposed to be working -- he was due off at 4 p.m. -- but had agreed to work an extra shift,DNAinfo reported.

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"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family," FJC Security Services said in a statement. "We intend to do everything we can to stand with them during this very difficult time."

Camara had no connection to the gunman, the NYPD said.

John A. Oswald is editor-at-large at Metro and can be found on Twitter@nyc_oz.
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