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. NativeNYer

    NYC has strict guns laws yet this still happened. What does that tell you? That there are a lot of crooked police in NYC.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy M

      That is illogical – the police are most likely to be shot at, so why would they want illegal guns on the street? Gun makers flood the black market with guns to remain profitable. We need to stop that, not more laws on gun owners.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. kflanigan

    Some one said if the five victims had been armed it would have turned out different. They're right ! The headline would have read twenty five innocent bystanders killed in shootout

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Katherine

    Opps, looks like YOU are wrong since the rest of the country in which New York resides has NO such ban on guns. The answer is to have a nationwide ban on guns.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • asr3

      I hope you understand that there already are several hundred million privately owned firearms in the united states, and their owners, for the most part, will not give them up easily. A national gun ban in the united states is folly.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • LegalCarry

      Wrong, every state has bans. NYC does and the perp entered NYC illegally with a gun if he bought it somewhere else. Having the gun in NYC is llegal. We need toughter quicker sentencing in which those that refuse to obey the law are punished. SOme of the researchers have the number at 300 million gun owners in the USA of which 300 million legal gun owners didn't hurt anyone except those that protected themselves, their family, or property – and that happens a lot.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nancy M

    Here is the latest – The shooter was disgruntled Employee of business inside the Empire State building. Police killed him. 4 shot are alive..

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. DP

    god bless NRA 🙂 I am sure that if NRA has its way in NYC/NY then the gunman will be for sure, no doubt, killed immediately w/o firing a shot by at least a dozen card carrying NRA members :-)... isn't it what is happening in such blessed places like Texas or so, is it ? I have heard they do not need a police nowadays 🙂

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy M

      Texas has a carrying law, yet hundreds sit on Death Row for murder. So that's not really a deterrent.

      Only 4 were shot, even if someone was carrying at the scene. I doubt they would have got to him any faster than the police took him out.

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

      I've visited there a half dozen times and yes....in tht area....they have walking LEO every block. So they would be quick to respond.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. lindsay

    wow! these are strange times we are living in 😦 i hope the victims are alright..... my office is literally 2 blocks away from the empire state building. victims are in my prayers

    August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy M

      The latest report on local NYC news – the 4 shot are alive and at area hospitals

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

      The shooter and one bystander dead.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. jarvis

    Aja, and regulation within a thriving black market is moot.
    Economics 101 my friend.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy M

      Exactly Jarvis – 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 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. DWIGHT

    Gun control may be the answer but not the complete fix. There is very tight gun control in Canada and there are still people being gunned down. Controlling the guns from innocent people still does not take guns out of the hands of criminals. Educating people and censoring the amount of information that the media can disclose is the answer. Yes we need to know that there was a shooting but do we need to know what kind of gun or guns were used, how much ammo was used, the persons life history and so on and so on. I find that the media take a shooting and make the person as famous as a movie star. Kudos to CNN's Anderson Cooper for avoiding to mention the jerks name in the Colorado shooting last month.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. Davide

    Why happens in a city where guns are banned? Very simple: people buy guns anywhere else in the country.
    That is why you need country-wide ban on guns to truly solve the problems that you have in the US.
    Other civilized countries of the world don't get daily shootings like these.
    Wake up.. ..or just get used to it.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Tendofreak

      Its the crazees that are killing people. Not the guns. One can MAKE a gun if one needs too. How do you stop crazy tho????
      One can take a pipe, spring and nail and make a shotgun...so BANNING guns isnt the solution.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sinfully Yours

    The gunman was reported to have been wearing a purple overcoat and was shouting "Why so serious" as he was chasing after people and firing away.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. fotografr

    Great. Another excuse for the gun nuts to say we need more guns and fewer gun control laws, "so we can protect ourselves." Brilliant logic.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Edward C

      Think about that next time you run through a stupid Seatbelt sting, or a D.U.I. checkpoint. Think about how many traffic tickets are being written at the same time you read about a violent crime occurring. Tell me something; if the cops are too busy writing tickets, WHO protects me when I need help?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • LegalCarry

      recently I read where a LEO was fatally injured in a one-car accident – stated reasons driving to fast for conditions, and he was thrwn from the car causing massive ahead and chest trauma. While they ticket us they flaunt the laws

      August 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chenice

    This is so sad mane but its all in the bible. All we can do is pray. Prayer can be so powerful people do not realize that

    August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • runner305

      All we can do is pray? That's pretty lame, isn't it? There are PLENTY of things that can be done to better protect people.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • thewiz71

      Umm...as a Christian, I must ask, where exactly is all this in the Bible? By "all this" I presume you mean these mass shootings. Sorry, none of this is found in the Bible. Now, stop giving the rest of us Christians a bad name.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joey

    Cole: The gun laws lower crime rates but they do not extinguish the potential of gun violence

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

      Countries with strict gun control have minimal gun violence.

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

      your looking at countries. Guns would have to pass through customs. To get a gun and sell it on the street in NYC you pass a toll booth

      August 24, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • thewiz71

      If greater access to guns, lax gun laws, and high levels of gun ownership actually kept people safe, the United States ought to be one of the safest places, and have one of the lowest crime rates, in the world. The only people who should have access to guns are police, those who have licences to use and store them at firing ranges, and actual hunters and sportsmen, and them only those weapons that are necessary for their past-time. No hunter needs an assault rifle, nor a handgun.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Joey

      Some people just like guns. They like "to make things go boom". The problem with gun laws in general is that we as a country can't decide to go one way or the other. Its a simple question. Do guns cause more harm than good? Our fore fathers could not have seen what the future had in store for us. Like it or not times have changed. The right to bare arms was meant to protect life and property back then. Today its about who has the nicest car and god forbid a person gets their feelings hurt. Poverty stricken areas try to make money "by any means necessary".

      August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • etech

      thewiz71, look at how well banning all guns has worked for England and Australia. Home invasions increased dramatically, and the criminals are well protected from harm. It's the thought that a homeowner MAY be armed that helps most. Until the majic wand makes every gun (including police and military) disappear, criminals will still have them.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      @ Martin, Mexico has very tight gun laws. How is that working for the innocent civilians who obey the law?

      August 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CysticFibrosisWhites

    White men are the real terrorists. They've oppressed every race on the planet, and still lust for power and blood. Time to send the pasty skins to Guantanamo.

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

      Oh the blame game, maybe ur pathetic excuse of a life can be blamed at the person in the mirror. Oh wait..easier to blame someone else, let me guess...its racism? Feel free to return to your 'roots' if you don't like the US... I'm sure you will do well in Africa where your own ancestors sold off your own people.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • jenny1985foy

      I am white and I have never oppressed anyone!! I love all my brothers and sister no matter their skin color!!

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

      Racist anglophobe hatemonger.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • YouSoSilly

      I suppose Africa is a crime free continent where atrocities never occur.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      Delusional much.. Go take your meds psycho.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • AZpatriot

      Cystic, bring that on and see how it works out for you Oh wait, the world has already tried that.

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

      @ cysticFibrosisWhites....what a dufuos you are! You probably are discriminated not because of your race, more so you are a LAZY, unemployed, 40 yrs old who can’t hold a job and live in your parents basement. YOU”RE A DRAIN ON OUR ECONOMY !!!

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

      Your gonna need a bigger facility that gitmo. there are a lot of us lol

      August 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Joey

      just saying

      August 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      There is evidence that cities with tough GUN LAWS have higher CRIME RATES.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. bill

    Can't be. Guns are illegal in NYC. So that means more guns laws don't work. If the victoms were armed ,they might of been able to protect themselves........

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

      That old tired NRA/Rightwing line has started to ring hollow.

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

      Or there would have been a shootout in the streets of NY with bullets flying everywhere. Looking to turn the country back into the old west?

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

      ...and even more bystanders will be killed. (And yes, I am a gun owner).

      August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Shut up

      Not one of these mass shootings has ended because someone nearby shot the gunman. Just shut your mouth.

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

      Yeah, like having guns readily available just over the NY / PA border makes it hard to get guns into NY. We need NATIONAL GUN CONTROL...

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

      WOW, how are you gun advocates able to so rapidly turn a mass shooting into an argument for MORE guns? At what point do you learn your lesson? America has more guns per person than any other nation on the planet and, surprise surprise, more gun related deaths per person! How many people have to be massacred before you realize that the guns are not helping???

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

      I guess the magic gun detecting barrier Bloomberg built around Manhattan wasn't working today.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      Thats what we pay the cops for.
      Just judging by the ignorance of your comment, I would never want someone like you walking around with a loaded gun.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • JPow

      Yes, an old wild west shoot-out. That should solve all of our problems. What an asinine comment, and one that I'm frankly tired of hearing.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Laws are meant for LAW ABIDING citizens.. Criminals and Mentally Challenged do not obey then laws.. GUN LAWS actually DISARM the lawful citizens and empower the OUTLAWS..

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

      You fools that think MORE gun control will magically fix the problem are comical. Just like prohibition stopped people from drinking, just like the speed limit keeps people from speeding. Blah Blah Blah. Making the drinking age 21 keeps people from drinking.....

      Simply making laws assumes people will follow them and only law-abiding citizens do and few, if any, follow ALL laws.

      They day ALL of private guns are taken by the Government is the day this country ceases to exist.

      How many people were killed last year by drunk drivers....wait, there are laws against drinking and driving, how can that be.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Really???

      Normal humans should not have to carry a gun to feel secure in their being. If things are that bad then ALL guns need to be outlawed and mandatory ten year sentences imposed on anyone caught with one for the first offense and increments of five to ten years for each repeating offense depending on the seriousness with no ifs, and, or buts.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Is there any evidence that points to people having gun lowers crime rates? We all have ideas, curious if any facts around.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
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