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.

Are you there? Share your story

• 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. Carmen

    And still people complain about security, being "bother" by it at airports, Americans forget we are at war, and during times like this there are all kinds of violents come out.
    My condolences to the families of the ones murdered.

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

      There are lots of "wars", including our own government's attacks on the values our founding fathers gave their blood and lives for. Attacks/crimes occur because of inequalities, lack of respect for others, etc. We need to fix the ailments of our society.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. SmarterThanYou

    Good one... More ignorance spewed...
    You can't buy a gun easily in NY through legal means, yet you can go to the hood and get a gun for $200. Another libertard displaying pure stupidity in a public forum.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. Julia Heckler

    Enough is enough–President Obama please stand up and say tell the world that GUNS are not ok and laws need to be implemented and crackdowns need to be made–you will not lose your base–people will be behind you. We need to hear it from you. LOUD AND CLEAR-

    August 24, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason310M

      Since when do criminals obey the law? Pray tell.

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

      Too late.
      There are millions of guns out there already.
      Blame corporate greed.

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

      Until you can wave a majic wand and make ALL guns dissapear, laws against guns only make them unavailable to law abiding citizens. Illegal firearms will ALWAYS be available to criminals no matter how many laws are passed. Stop harping on gun rights, the legal ones aren't commiting these atrocities.

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

      This is proof that gun laws don't work. New York has the most stringent gun laws of all the states. It is illegal for a citizen to own a hand gun unless they go through Law enforcement with proper paper work and credentials. They must have a damn good reason for wanting to own a handgun.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Pete

    Will the NRA nuts now try to sell the STAND YOUR GROUND LAW there,I think not.Concealed weapons permits do help in some situations but thats just in a small percentage..You have to be responsible to own or handle a gun,so that says a mouth full how some states governments regard their citizens doesn't it!!!

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

    He had a gun because of the lack of restraint this country has on its gun problem. NY may have strict laws but other states don't so he can still easily get a gun and drive to NY right? People like you should stick to having relations with their relatives rather than spewing your hillbilly word vomit into the public eye.

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

      Suppose he purchased the gun in NY? Do you really think that if someone wants to hurt others that they can't find other ways to accomplish that? Most narcotics are illegal, yet people still find ways to acquire them. The idea that you can prevent people from behaving a certain way by prohibiting something has been debunked years ago in the prohibition era. And btw, I'm not a proponent of looser gun laws, just a realist.

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

      The difference is i cannot aim a narcotic at you and kill you. I have your life in my hands with a gun. You have your life in yours with a drug. There is absolutely no need for anyone in this country to have a gun unless you are a police officer or in the military, end of story.

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

      Gunner, since I can aim an automobile at a person and commit murder as well, should cars be made illegal? Dinner knives? Forks? How about sharpened pencils? This murderer was not enabled by the existence of firearms. Please stop blaming gun rights, the LEGAL ones aren't being used for these crimes.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • JS

      Gunner, I understand your point completely, The problem is that you can't retroactively eliminate all the guns in this country it's too late! But I can tell you this, I personally don't carry a handgun, but my wife does. She has been properly trained and licensed to use it. In the event that someone decides to carjack or attack her she can choose to use it. Thankfully she hasn't had to do so and I hope she never does, but it's a sad reality where we live that it is an absolute possibility she may have to. But I do appreciate your comment!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. lo

    Guns don't kill people; thoughts kill people.

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

      "10 wounded by thoughts."

      August 24, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. Young White

    It would not surprise me if the government allow a surplus of guns in our country just to promote these attacks only to eventually take them all away.

    P.S (Paul Ryan seems like the Anti-Crist to me)

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

      Ever heard of Fast & Furious?

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

      Zombie Iron, there are few people on this planet who have never made a spelling error. I am sure you have had your own share of spelling bloopers and will continue to have them at some point. So if a person who makes a grammatical error is not worth taking seriously, then you are probably not worth taking seriously also.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Zombie Iron Chef America

    You'll all be happy to know I was nowhere near the ESB when the bullets flew. Thanks to all of you for your concern.

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

    Wait a second; this is Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-Second Amendment city! How can there be a shooting like this, it’s illegal!?

    The old cliché holds true; when guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns…

    August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Zombie Iron Chef America

      We all are sick of Bloomy, and it has nothing to do with rednecks' love of the 2nd A.

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

    Glad we don't have to have a trial.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Norm

    The gun advocates must think everyone is mentally stable and always able to control their temper.
    Lets arm everyone.
    I just can't imagine anyone so ignorant and misguided that they actually believe that would be a good thing.

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

      I'm pretty sure most gun advocates don't want everyone armed.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jess

    NY gun laws make it difficult to PURCHASE a gun, but the police don't search every person who enters the city from other places, and they don't prevent New Yorkers from purchasing guns elsewhere and sneaking them in. Use your noggins, people, NY gun laws are not responsible for crazy-pants murderers, and whatever little good they do can only help. I will sit back and wait for the detailed report about how this shooter had psychiatric problems and a record of making threats, and how it didn't prevent him from purchasing a gun in Anytown, TX.

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

      The reason this happen IS because of the gun laws. If more people were armed, this stuff wouldn't get too far. Notice the city's with the more strict gun laws have the highest crime statistics. Like for instance, Chicago has more violence than Afghanistan!!!!!! Yet, you can't purchase a firearm there. Here in New Hampshire we have no gun control laws and we have little to no crime. Boston on the other hand has STRICT gun control laws and they have LOTS of crime. Gun Control kills people. Common Sense people...

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

      no they only harass black males on a constant basis. Proof once again that racist policies dont stop the real criminals from performing criminal acts. I am 100% positive it wasnt a gang banger or whatever.Most likely a wing nut (left wing = trying to get guns laws passed the hard way OR right wing = trying to make Obama look bad with a domestic terrorist act). Yes it was politically motivated (watch criminal minds) the guy attacked people outside of a tourist location. Was not a foreign national/arab cause he didnt try and martyr himself he tried to escape. So...Sherlock Jones has had his two cents...Lets see how close to right I am.

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

      Besides the fact that it happens way less in NYC than it does in the south and mid-west.

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

      Do you actually know what you are talking about or do you make it up along the way. When it comes to hand guns you are only allowed to purchase them in the state of your residence. So New Yorkers can not go out of state and buy a hand gun legally and then bring it back.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. TwM

    This is something to watch, seems like everytime the UN Gun law is voted down another shooting occurs. Funny right?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. PJ33

    This is not about a gun or a law, it is about human life. if there is a will there is a way and we need to understand that.

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

      Sure, these nutcases used to use knives and other means, not weapons made for the military or with clips that can hold 20 bullets.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. Agslions

    Wow... all this mudslinging and all we have to go by is a few sentences describing the VERY early info we have about the shooting? Jeez. I'm always amazed at how people jump to some serious conclusions with such little info.

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

      Sure, so are we to assume the shooting of now 10 innocent people has nothing to do with the gun that was used? I think we can infer that these innocent folks were shot by a gun.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99