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.

β€’ There is no apparent link to terrorism, a law enforcement official said.

β€’ Are you there? Share your story

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

β€’ 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.

β€’ 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.

β€’ 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. Stuart

    Sad story, but ya lets just give the government all our weapons. Maybe our cars too, and let them control what we eat. 1984.

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

      Excuse me miss...you've dropped your tin foil hat. I like how you've added a ribbon of lace all around the rim!

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

      Stuart
      you dont have to worry the goverment is going to make sure that all are rights are taking away just wait and see

      August 24, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. james ksw

    not possible.

    New York has the strictest gun control laws in the US, so it's physically impossible to get a gun in New York.

    Nice try CNN

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

      Hey do-fiss it doesnt help that guns which originate outside of New york can get in to the city. Thats why gun laws need to be national.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. LJ

    Yet another reason for me to move out of NYC! Keep 'em coming!

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

    GOP = gun only pathetics!

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

      Many demos own and carry so your comment is just dumb.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Common Sense

    A shooting in NYC?? That's impossible!!!! Guns are banned there. Remember? Gun Control would have stopped this!!!! Right? ......<<See what I did there?!

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

      Gun control means the victims should have not only guns, but better aim.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lobbyistgrl

    I barely made it past the first sentence. That article was so poorly written. Edits! We need Edits! Stat!

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

      No we don't need edits. The article is understandable.

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

      That article was almost as injured as the victims!

      Did NYC police write that article. Actually, if the NYC police would have written the article they would have gotten the details correct.

      STOP MEDIA SENSATIONALISM. thanks.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joshua Andrews

    I think the answer is that we, as humans and citizens, should realize that, apparently, WE are the ones who don't deserve to have guns. The argument shouldn't be about whether or not the government is "Taking Away Our Rights"... we obviously don't warrant a "right" to carry weapons, so whether or not the government allows it is moot. Let's, as a society, take guns away from ourselves. Let's, as a society, decide we don't need them, and we can't be trusted with them. Let's make it taboo and shameful, (as it should be) to even WANT to carry around a DEADLY WEAPON.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • webbiz4you

      So you say make guns TABOO? Take guns away from ourselves? Hey, great idea. So the next time someone breaks into your house and has a gun pointed at you, what are you going to do? Shoot him with a rubber band? Because the bad guys will continue to have guns, it will be the innocent that will suffer and lack the ability to defend themselves.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Allah Ackbarf

      To the moron who says that citizens should take guns away from themselves. You go first.

      You sugary drinks are next, haha!

      August 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TS

    Can't be guns are not legal in NYC, next someone will say he was drinking a big gulp at the same time.

    Seriously my heart felt prayers to the victims but just another example of how more laws only impact the law abiding citizens and do nothing to stop criminals.

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

      You're naive if you think gun laws wont affect criminals. It decreases the number of guns out there and raises the price in the black market.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. whatahit

    Criminals don't obey gun laws. Doesn't matter if you take them all away, there will still be shootings. Put the money and energy into mental health in t\
    his country.

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

      Is that a fact, or just an opinion ? The data shows NY gun laws lower gun violence.

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

      Criminals are exempt.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      Is that so Duke? Because the facts I'm looking at show that the cities with the strictest gun laws have the highest crime rates in the nation.

      Chicago ring a bell? Guns aren't allowed there yet there are more shootings there than in Afgahnistan!

      August 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TwM

    Also recall that NY State has very strict gun laws obviously someone could have been packing and taken this guy out prior to 10 people being shot.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. Pac-Man

    Guns don't kill people; bullets do.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • joek201

      "...and monkies kill people, if they have guns."

      August 24, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. WallyBoy

    New York is one of the, if not THE strictest state with regards to the purchase, possession and carrying of handguns.....lot of good that did. Prayers for the families...

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

      Yeah...and Arizona one of the most lax. Look what happened there.

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

      Yeah, but the gun laws of the other states and federal government make it impossible for NYC to control guns in the city. There are too many and they are too accessible. As a side note...NYC has some of the lowest gun violence of any major city in the country, so yeah, the gun laws do have some effect.

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

      Guess what, the gun used was either a rifle or shotgun according to reports. Both legal to purchase in NYS for those special all high and mighty hunters. Guess what, all guns are useless, unless you plan to kill with it. We need national gun laws to elliminate ALL guns. Pure and simple, guns have no place in our advanced society. We should be better than this. HUNTERS, GET A NEW HOBBY AND GO TO THE GROCERY STORE LIKE THE REST OF US!

      The only people who should carry guns are police and military – END OF DISCUSSION!

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

      Dont be an idiot – the rate of gun violence lowered over time as gun control became stricter. If you use NY data to create gun policy, you would find the NY model works. Your argument is the same as telling people to buy lotto tickets because clearly there is a winner – you read about this winner. Yet you fail to mention the millions of non-winners.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      yeah well a lot of good it does when other states have very little gun control and there is no border check to travel in between states. The only way gun control will work is if it is done as a nation. States governing themselves may have been the best method of government in the 18th and 19th centuries. But in the 21st, when anyone can travel to severl states in a day and we are all interactively connected, it makes more sense to have one set of rules. I have traveled to other countries and I must say, ours is has the most chaotic form of government I have seen.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Tr1Xen

      @NunyaBusiness Really? Do you trust the government that much? You don't read history much, do you?

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

      Do you really feel that you or any militia you form from your wednesday night bowling league will be able to stand up to the US military in any kind of true capacity? REALLY!?

      REALITY CHECK : IF the government truely wanted to take over some kind of police state against it's citizens (an ultimate paranoia by the way), they will have no trouble doing so. Take a history lesson from Bin Laden. They will find you, and they will kill you, nomatter how well you bunker yourself in with guns and ammo – if they really wanted to.

      So until that fantasy day comes, please give up the falicy that we need to protect ourselves from the big bad government and lets save some lives by making guns less accessible.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • NunyaBusiness

      To those who support keeping guns widely available for people like this to hunt and kill human beings – I say that the blood spilt from their bodies is on your hands. You are partly responsible for these killings which are occuring nearly every day now. I hope you feel safe in your house with all your guns while innocent people are being killed so that you can enjoy the shine of the barrel on your gun. Next time you are observing the shine of your gun, angle it so you can see your face, because you may as well be staring at a killer. The blood is on your hands...I hope that makes you happy.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • LegalCarry

      Is ll the violent crime lowered or just gun violence?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allah Ackbarf

      Stop living in fear.

      NYC is one of the easiest places for a mass killing. This cannot be prevented. Think risk-management.

      This guy was targeting one specific person, which is more common than mass killings. When you see something like this, get the hell out of there and call the cops. If you have a concealed weapon permit you can legally shoot someone who is going to kill someone else.

      This guy did not use an automatic weapon, but a handgun with a normal capacity magazine and it really doesn't matter.

      Only takes one.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave

    Prayer?? Lol. Maybe a little gun control in the United States Of Firearms. So many mass shootings I get them confused these days. Everyone is armed, and on anti-depressants.

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

      So true.

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

      Gun control? That's why the "unarmed" security guard had to run after the shooter, instead of taking him out sooner.

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

      MJ – the fact he was unarmed may have to do with the fact he was in a position where sidearms are not needed. What if the story read "an unarmed waiter" or an "unarmed ambulance driver" – you see your argument is just silly.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Girl

      Your comment truly sums it up the best.

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

      It doesn't only happen in the US. Did you also miss the front page headlines regarding the sentencing of the Norwegian who killed 77 people last year....in Norway????

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

      Both prayer and gun control are impotent.

      Stop living in fear!

      August 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allah Ackbarf

      How about lowering the number of people on antidepressants and those who are addicted to pain killers.

      Drugs effect physiology directly! Guns do not.

      There are other states and countries. Guns and drugs are not going away. Regulations do not work, they are impotent.

      Criminals are exempt from all laws.

      August 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michael Fox

    The last 2 paragraphs of that story seem so out of place.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Bozo T Clown

      False Flag!

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

      I agree. Many articles seem to place these irrelevant facts at the end of articles like this.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. NunyaBusiness

    The gun used was a rifle or a shotgun according to reports. These can be legally purchased in the state of NY so everyone who is talking about gun laws in NY being sooooo strict, how could this happen? Apparently the laws are not strict enough. We need national gun laws that include hunting weapons....

    HUNTERS NEED TO FIND THEMSELVES A NEW so-called "Sport". I hear paintball is fun.

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

      NY has the strictest gun control laws in the whole bleeping country and still this happened. Because guess what – CRIMINALS DON'T OBEY THE LAW. Can't understand why such a simple fact is so completely lost on the gun control movement.

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

      When your moment of truth comes what would you rather have in your hand, a cellphone or a gun?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Tr1Xen

      The Second Amendment is NOT for hunting. It reads:
      𝑨 π’˜π’†π’π’ π’“π’†π’ˆπ’–π’π’‚π’•π’†π’… π‘΄π’Šπ’π’Šπ’•π’Šπ’‚, π’ƒπ’†π’Šπ’π’ˆ π’π’†π’„π’†π’”π’”π’‚π’“π’š 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’”π’†π’„π’–π’“π’Šπ’•π’š 𝒐𝒇 𝒂 𝒇𝒓𝒆𝒆 𝑺𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒆, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’“π’Šπ’ˆπ’‰π’• 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒕𝒐 π’Œπ’†π’†π’‘ 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒃𝒆𝒂𝒓 π‘¨π’“π’Žπ’”, 𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒃𝒆 π’Šπ’π’‡π’“π’Šπ’π’ˆπ’†π’….
      What part of "well regulated militia" do you not understand? That doesn't say, "army" or "government" or "police force." The Second Amendment was intended to protect us against the potential threat posed by a tyrannical government. It's a critical part of our checks and balances in this country, and has NOTHING to do with hunting. If German citizens had had similar rights when Hitler rose to power, millions of lives might have been saved.

      So, in the spirit of Charlton Heston, I tell you, "From my cold, dead hands!"

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

      I would be willing to bet that this guy has a clean criminal history. Lets wait and see. He will be a nobody. Yes, as soon as he used that gun to kill people he committed a crime. But there is no reason he should have had a gun in the first place. What so he could go out and shoot, what, a deer? How pointless is that...sit in the woods for hours and hours, getting up super early to sit in the dark like a loser, and then kill a beatiful animal, FOR FUN!!!! IT sounds like practice to me, he probably got bored of sitting in the woods waitng for animals, so he went to NYC where he could get some real shooting done.

      HUNTERS ARE INSANE – KILLING ANIMALS FOR FUN. It is an early sign of a serial killer to kill animals for fun. WHat does that tell you.

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

      Maybe if EVERYONE carried guns, this wouldn't happen. How about, I continue to hunt and own a gun, and you dreaming that gun laws will keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. Criminals will always have guns, if the rest of have them, at least it is a level playing field.

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

      Some of us hunt to put food on the table. Ever been to upstate New York? That's where we live in poverty compared to you NYCers and all our taxes go to paving your streets, not ours. Hunting isn't fun, it is a lot of work for most of us. Why don't you trying gutting a deer and then dragging the carcas 2 miles out of the woods?
      If you are really against it, I will send you my address and you can buy my meat for the winter. Sound good?

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

      Apparently you are an expext and dismiss differing opinion. Your screen name say's it all. Your end of discussion at the end of your comment says much. I am glad you are not in charge of anything. Hunters help keep things like over grazing when the animals die from starvation a cruel death. Libs like yourself are blind to reality but think you know it all....not.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allah Ackbarf

      The gun used was a .45 caliber semi-automatic. These can also be purchased and owned legally in new york with proper paperwork.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
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