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. Tony

    NYC, one of the largest gun free victim zones in the country. Blood on Bloombergs hands for not allowing law abiding citizens the right of self protection.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robert Beck

      a) it's an isolated incident. It happens. I'm sure there's NO correlation that NYC is the safest large city in the US and has the tightest gun laws...I'm certain there's no correlation at all.

      Also, Unless Bloomberg pulled the trigger, in no way is this "his fault" come on....That's hyperbolic transferal of blame.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jose

    someone got fired and went back to take care of those who fired him, simple as that, thats sad....being in HR nowadays is not safe....

    August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Robert Beck

    Instead of bickering about gun control, why don't we try to find out why Americans want to kill each other so badly and see if we can't do something about THAT issue.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • lam81208

      Do we know if the gunman was American?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      For focus on this being an American issue shows your ignorance of the world.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert Beck

      Tom, I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to get at. I'm only attempting to discuss the American piece of the problem here. I'm absolutely ignorant of gun violence problems in other countries, so I won't attempt to discuss them.

      I do have a decent handle on the violence issue in the US however, and have a number of ideas on how to remedy the situation. It's kind of common sense, but it's not necessarily "easy"

      August 24, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dixie_Dan

    just a second guys, the fact that someone got shot even when strict gun laws are in place in one city IS NOT a reason to loosen gun laws elsewhere. that's like saying if someone dies in a crash with an airbag in his car, we should start taking them out of other cars. it's almost like you are celebrating this tragedy in your reverence for the gun culture.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      More like your comment is just as much an overreaction to whats actually being said as you are accusing others of being.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. lo

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty-Ben Franklin

    I don't own a gun and I never will, but it scares me that Americans want to just throw away their right to own them without considering why that right was granted in the first place. Look at North Korea, a people oppressed by an extreme government.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • lo

      The North Koreans don't own guns, they are powerless. Only the military owns guns.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. Logic

    @Cole They gunman could have gotten the gun outside of NYC because of lax gun laws and then brought it into NYC. Laws in one city are not enough if the surrounding areas don't take steps to prevent acts like this too

    August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. CysticFibrosisWhites

    White males are the real terrorists. Their terrorist cell is called the GOP

    August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mikey

      Comment reported. Your hate has no place here.

      August 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lwingate

    Are you forgetting about the five people that were shot? Stop with the gun control and politics. My heart goes out to all of those innocent people and their families.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. matt

    How did this guy have a gun in New York? They are not allowed there......

    August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Mike

    Give us our 2nd ammendment. IF we had the right to CCW then people would think about what they do not knowing who has a gun on themor not . Good job NYPD

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • lank81

      Mike,
      Just because people could conceal doesn't mean that would stop the 'crazies" or criminals from stopping their crimes. Look at other countries and the hundreds of years before that when someone whole stole or did some other petty crime has their hand cut off. They know the consequence but they take the risk anyway.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  11. lank81

    I don't think the Gun Laws are the be all end all. Look at Australia. Their laws are very strict and their deaths by firearms is much lower per capita and overall than ours. Personally I think it's a our culture more than anything. Americans anymore are so desensitized to death, crime, etc. We care more about what the rich and famous are doing than true news. To top it off the family structure / responsibility in America is horrendous.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. trained killer

    I did my duty for the U.S. Army, have not touched a weapon since and see no need to.
    I want all weapons strictly controlled, and TAXED to Pay Victims. I also want amunition strictly controlled and traced.
    Guns kill people – the only bright side is that its most likely that they will be members of the killers family.
    No one needs a assalt weapon for hunting, in fact they are not very good for that. Hand guns are the worst, the only people who have them need props for their personal insecurities.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aja

      Thanks for your service, and I completely agree with you!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Edward C

      I want cops to respond to a 911 call in a REASONABLE amount of time. Until stopping a crime becomes a higher priority than worrying about my expired registration, or if I am wearing a seatbelt, then your concerns would be more vaild...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • kflanigan

      Well put.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      BS! You were not train to kill! I am also a veteran. I was train to defend this great nation against all enemy both foreign
      and domestic. You must have been in admin.

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

      I have many guns, and they have never killed anybody. And since they all could be used in an assault, I guess they are all assault weapons. I have used many of the assault weapons for hunting, and they work very well, sir. I am very happy to hear that you do not need firearms, as you clearly do not sound stable enough to wield them responsibly.

      August 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. evan

    guns are illegal in nyc

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tendofreak

      So...your saying the only ones that have guns are the criminals......Yes I feel MUCH MUCH safer with that thought!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. Charlie

    Thank you New York. Now I definitely feel safer. Ban on guns? Yeah sure.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • yuri pelham

      N R A. Let the gun sales skyrocket and the senseless slaughter continue. Sincerely yours, Satan

      August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy M

      Gun makers flood the black market with guns to remain profitable. Those laws don't stop gun makers from doing this. We need to stop that, not more laws on gun owners

      August 24, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Deadlikeme74

      it doesn't matter what laws are on the books, gun makers flood the black market with guns to remain profitable. That's what needs to be addressed and the NRA offer no help to do that because they want crooks to have illegal guns to make it necessary for them to keep their guns. I have no problem with the 2nd amendment- but the NRA could work with law enforcement on this issue and they refuse

      August 24, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      @ yuri pelham

      Funny how gun related crime has being going down even though gun sales have "skyrocketed". It's a damn shame that facts get in the way of your hate.

      @ Nancy M

      The only black market flooding of guns I have seen evidence of is from Eric Holder and the "Fast and Furious" campaign...

      August 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. come on..

    How about paying respect for the deceased and their friends/families instead of immediately using this incident to fuel your own political agenda.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Well, figures.

      How about we do both? Yes.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
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