Police kill gunman in shooting outside Empire State Building
Police responded to the Empire State Building in New York after several people were shot Friday.
August 24th, 2012
03:19 PM ET

Police kill gunman in shooting outside Empire State Building

Read the full story and developments in the investigation on CNN.com. For local coverage, visit WPIX, WCBS and NY1.
Scroll down to catch up on the events as they unfolded.

[Updated at 3:19 p.m. ET] Two patients who were brought to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Friday have been discharged and one has been admitted, the hospital's public affairs office said in a statement.

The three people were brought to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center Emergency Department as a result of a shooting outside the Empire State building shortly after 9 a.m., the hospital said.

Other victims were brought to Bellevue Hospital after the shooting, which police said left eight wounded and two dead, including the gunman.

Police initially said nine bystanders were wounded in an exchange of gunfire between shooter Jeffrey Johnson and police. That number was later revised to eight.

Pictures from the scene

Police killed Johnson as he pulled a gun on them while trying to flee the scene where he fatally shot a former coworker, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The gunman apparently had a longstanding dispute with the victim over workplace harassment allegations, police said. Both men had filed prior complaints.

[Updated at 12:16 a.m. ET] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised police and civilians for their quick response to a shooting outside the Empire State Building on Friday morning, which left two dead and nine injured.

"There is no doubt that the situation would've been even more tragic except for the extraordinary acts of heroism," Bloomberg said in a media conference. "New York City is the safest big city in this country but we are not immune to the national problem of gun violence."

Gunman Jeffrey Johnson, 53, killed one person before he was shot to death outside the busy tourist destination on 34th Street and Fifth Avenue in a chaotic scene just after 9 a.m., Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. In addition to being home to a popular tourist destination in Midtown Manhattan, the area is also a busy commercial district.

"I saw people running and I didn't know what happened. I thought it was a celebrity spotting," said witness Rebecca Fox, who was on her way to work when the shootings broke out. "It was a very surreal scene."

Fast Facts: The Empire State Building

The victim was Johnson's former coworker at Hazan Imports, where Johnson was a designer of women's accessories until being laid off last year.

As Johnson attempted to flee the scene, a construction worker across the street alerted two police officers, who pursued him up West 33rd Street, Kelly said. As Johnson pulled out a .45 caliber pistol, the officers opened fire, killing Johnson. It was unclear if Johnson managed to shoot a round.

Nine others were wounded or grazed in the exchange of gunfire, Kelly said. They were taken to local hospitals where they are expected to recover.

"Some may have been accidentally shot by police officers," Kelly said.

Photos and messages from Twitter and other digital platforms that appear to be related to the shooting outside the Empire State Building are being collected by CNN.com social media producer Dorrine Mendoza on this Storify page. CNN editors are working to verify this information and will be updating throughout the day.

[Updated at 11:26 a.m. ET] A gunman fatally shot a former coworker in the head outside the Empire State Building Friday morning before he was killed by police officers, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The suspect, 53-year-old Jeffrey Johnson, was a "disgruntled former employee" of a business near the Empire State Building, Kelly said. As he tried to flee the scene, a construction worker alerted two police officers, who pursued him down 33rd Street, Kelly said.

Johnson pulled a .45 caliber gun on the approaching police officers but it not clear if he actually shot any rounds as police opened fire on him, Kelly said.

Nine people were wounded or grazed in the crossfire, Kelly said.

"Some may have been accidentally shot by police officers," Kelly said.

[Updated at 11:08 a.m. ET] The Empire State Building is fully operational after ten people were shot outside the popular tourist destination this morning, leaving at least two dead.

Building representatives released a statement saying the New York Police Department is concluding its investigation that occurred shortly after 9 a.m.

[Updated at 11:08 a.m. ET] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to speak soon after a shooting outside the Empire State Building Friday morning left at least two dead, including the suspected gunman.

A witnessed said they saw a shooter with a "large gun"

[Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to speak at 11 a.m. after a shooting outside the Empire State Building Friday morning left at least two dead, including the suspected gunman.

Watch the news conference live on CNN TV, on CNN.com or on your CNN mobile app.

• There is no apparent link to terrorism, a law enforcement official said.

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• Police shot the suspect, whose body is still lying outside the building covered in a sheet, witnesses said.

• A woman was also killed in the shooting, which occurred as people were lining up to gain entry to the busy tourist destination on 34 Street and Fifth Avenue.

• An elevator worker from inside the Empire State Building ran outside and began chasing the alleged shooter, CNN producer Rose Arce said. At some point police, who were apparently inside the building, were alerted and chased and the alleged shooter.

• Photos and messages from Twitter and other digital platforms that appear to be related to the shooting outside the Empire State Building are being collected by CNN.com social media producer Dorrine Mendoza on this Storify page. CNN editors are working to verify this information and will be updating throughout the day.

[Updated at 10:33 a.m. ET] The body of the alleged shooter is lying outside the entrance to the Empire State Building after a shooting broke out Friday morning, leaving at least two dead, New York City officials said.

A woman was also killed in the shooting, which occurred as people were lining up to gain entry to the busy tourist destination.

An elevator worker from inside the Empire State Building ran outside and began chasing the alleged shooter, CNN producer Rose Arce said. At some point police, who were apparently inside the building, were alerted and chased and the alleged shooter.

Arce talked to several international tourists who were standing around. "They were completely stunned by what happened and were screaming," Arce reports.

[Updated at 10:17 a.m. ET] Ten people were shot outside the Empire State Building, leaving two dead, including the gunman, New York City officials said.

A witness told CNN she saw a man lying in the middle of the street surrounded by police.

"I saw blood on the sidewalk," Rebecca Fox said. "It was a very surreal scene."

[Updated at 10:09 a.m. ET] A suspect started shooting outside the Empire State Building this morning, killing at least one person, New York city officials say.

The suspect had a "large gun," a witness told CNN.

[Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET] - At least 10 people were shot Friday in front of the Empire State Building in New York Friday morning, the New York Office of Emergency Management said.

A suspect in the shooting was shot and killed by police, New York police said.

Authorities converged on the building around 9 a.m. after reports of gunfire.

A witness told CNN's Rose Arce that the gunman ran after and shot a man in the head. An unarmed guard chased the gunman away, the witness told Arce.

Police have closed several several streets around 5th Avenue and 34th Street in Manhattan.

New York resident Max Kaplan, 22, said he heard at least nine gunshots. He said several ambulances have arrived at the scene.

"We're all very shaken up at the office," he said.

The Empire State Building is one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, and one of New York City's best-known tourist attractions.

Each year, about 4 million people visit the building's two observation decks. At more than 1,453 feet tall, the landmark building reaches more than a quarter-mile into the sky.

soundoff (3,090 Responses)
  1. mm

    Did they get the shooter?

    August 24, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Kenneth

      Did you READ the article?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • @ Kenneth

      Did you see the time he commented? You guys are quite the brainiacs here.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Everybody calm down about jumping on this guy about asking if the shooter was caught... if you check his time stamp he posted this comment to a developing story just after it broke. Check the update times in the story.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • JHuss

      yeah, but the cops shot more people than the perpetrator..

      August 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Expert Observation and Analysis

      If he was in the vicinity, he got shot.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    Gun debate, go!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. dnssk

    and to think this is all cause obama wants to destroy the 2nd amendment and get reelected.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • phil

      lol ya, obama put the gun in this guy's hands. Blame the stupid NRA and the gun toting hicks who keep hiding behind the second amendment. As long as it's not someone they love, I guess this kind of stuff can be a daily occurrence .

      August 24, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • SmarterThanYou

      roll your eyes and go back to sleep. That all OBAMA supporters do, is sleep and repeat the propaganda they are told to.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Jesus, you conservative nuts are getting dumber by the minute.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. Emigdio Alvarez

    Another one?

    August 24, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. phil

    No the moron gun nuts will talk about this being an isolated incident, and how if someone had a gun, they could've stopped this. Somehow, having the most guns in the world isn't related to having the most shooting deaths.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • phil

      lol my ignorance ? You blame Obama for this non sense, but how about the stupid NRA ? They are the ones that put the guns in this clown's hands. Wow, "they said" that this would happen and it did, amazing. I'm guessing there will some kind of shooting after a new president is elected too. Great predictions nostradomus.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • red

      dnssk – let me get this straight – you are accusing people of having a mental disorder because they are ignorant that the current spate of mass shootings was orchestrated by the Obama administration in order to repeal the second amendment after his reelection. Do I have that right?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Rubbish

      I know. They should just outlaw guns and forbid people to have them. That would stop the problem. Just like when they outlawed heroin and cocaine...now no one is able to get their hands on it or die from it. We should all go back to clubbing each other like when Cain killed Abel – those moron club nuts don't have much of a lobbying group.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • james ksw

      implying its possible for the average person to legally carry a gun in New York

      August 24, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • axel

      New York has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, more gun control is not going to solve the problem.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • nyos

      what good do strict local gun laws do, if you can easily buy guns at a WAL MART in the next state over ?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jason310M

    Have they blamed the tea party yet?

    August 24, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • BigBlackGuy

      Don't know, but Obama has already gotten blamed

      August 24, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Expert Observation and Analysis

      Obama has an alibi, with several witnesses confirming he was on the golf greens at the time of the shootings.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeremy

    Our local WNBC station says 2 shot..which is it...5 or 2? make up your minds.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    It was a Tea Party member! BOOM BEAT ALL OF YOU TO BLAME SOMEONE!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kyra

    Get the guns off our streets!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Stefan

      New York has incredibly tight gun control laws, pretty obvious they're not working.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Ella

      Perhaps they'd have a stronger chance of working if people at the federal level gave a damn. One state can only do so much. All a killer has to do is drive down South, pick up a gun, and bring it back to New York...it shouldn't be so easy. It's disgusting, really.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Beefytee

      @Stefan...really? Not working? Firearms death rate in NY State is 5.1/100,000. That's 4th or 5th best in the country.

      I will give you that this is for the whole state, but NYC makes up 50% of the state. So if NYC's gun homicide numbers were much higher it would inflate the numbers for the whole state significantly.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Expert Observation and Analysis

      Get liberalism off the streets.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • beefytee

      4th or 5th best in the country........ didn't know there was a "best" category when it comes to how many people get killed in one sitting.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      I say put the guns back in the hands of law abiding people..you anti gun bozos are completely ignorant of the 2 million cases a year where armed citizens have saved their or others lives..but lets just be a braindead moronic sheeple and believe otherwise..Bloomturd packs a pistol wherever he goes..I guess his life is more important than yours.

      August 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CraftyPatsy

    Are we safe anywhere?????????????

    August 24, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Yes

      No. Life is dangerous, and was much more so before guns.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. freelance

    guns don't kill people. Tea Party Patriots do.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Yes

      LOL

      August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • PunkBuster

      Is New York a Blue state or a red state?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      ummm..the shooter was a democrat..

      August 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. lo

    We are a sick sick country. Something is very wrong.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Buffalo2002

    You wanna wake up in a city that doesn't sleep

    August 24, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. kjwehrman

    Shootings, now seem to be an everyday thing. Pretty sad what our own people will do to each other.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • phil

      agreed...and somehow, the toothless gun loving hicks say more guns are needed. Uhh, we have the most guns in the world, and this shooting happens the most where ? Right here. Great theory.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Troy

    Too bad more people don't have guns. Then they could have started firing at the person with the gun and we could watch the numbers grow

    August 24, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Antonio

      yes, more guns are definitely the answer. We only have 1 gun per person in america, and shockingly, we lead the world in shootings. I'm sure grenades and rockets are also right to bear arms, watch for the NRA morons to ask to legalize those next.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr. N

      The average gun enthusiast is a much better shot than the average cop, because the average gun owner shoots for fun and shoots more often. There are studies on that matter. Moreover, on the times that armed civilians have stopped a crime, there has usually been a very telling lack of collateral damage. Go educate yourself. Your comment is embarrassingly ignorant.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • FoolKiller

      You mean like the NYPD did??

      August 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
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