Empire State Building shooting victim Robert Asika 'hurting'

Empire State Building shooting victim Robert Asika, 24, Empire State Building shooting victim Robert Asika, 24, who sells tickets to the Empire State Building's observation deck, leaves Bellevue Hospital. (Aug. 24, 2012) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

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A young man who sells tickets to the Empire State Building observation deck was among the nine people wounded outside the Manhattan tourist attraction Friday morning.

Robert Asika, 23, of the Bronx, said he was on his way to work when he "saw everybody running" and confrontation between police and a man.

"I looked around and I saw two police officers with their guns out," Asika said. "I saw a white guy. He had a briefcase. I guess the cops were speaking to him."

Next thing he knew, Asika was struck by a bullet in the left elbow, he said.

Asika said he assumes that police shot him "because of the way the guy was standing."

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said earlier that injuries to bystanders included "graze wounds to the leg and an individual's forearm."

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Asked how he feels about the possibility that he was hit by a police bullet, Asika replied: "Stuff happens. I don't really feel bad about it."

In retrospect, Asika said, he almost didn't go to work on Friday.

"When I woke up this morning, something told me not to go to work," Asika said. "But then I said 'It's a job, just go.' "

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Friday afternoon, after his release from Bellevue Hospital, he was "scared, and I'm hurting. Every part of my body is hurting right now," Asika said.

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