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. ryantorgeson

    Guns! Keep worshipping them, pretty boy!

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

      Once again, someone with a chl could have taken the guy down.

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

      You do not have to be religious to like guns.

      And you do not have to be a murderer either.

      Guns are tools and they can be misused by humans. Imagine if this guy had a chainsaw!

      Ban chainsaws or ban humans.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Liz

    Whatever members of any society choose to do or say has the potential to become "contagious." We have fallen very low in terms of our speech toward one another, the content of movies and TV shows that hype violence and destruction, the hatred that is displayed every day in so many ways, our increasing aloneness in a busy world and the ease with which we dispense guns. It is no longer surprising to open news pages to discover yet another random act of violence.

    My own opinion is that nothing will change unless there is a collective desire to be more respectful toward one another in our daily travels through the workplace, the supermarket and our own family life. I hold out very little hope for this. How sad.

    Gun violence is a horrifying symptom of a much larger and more deadly problem than firearms themselves.

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

      Liz, thanks for the comment. You are right on target with your thoughful remarks.

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

      Very well stated.

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

      Well said, Liz. I totally agree. Our country has become a very sad place with all the polarization in politics. How did we lose our souls this way?

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

      Agreed

      August 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allah Ackbarf

      Memes are more of a problem than firearms.

      People should really think on their own.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bazzell

    A tragic event and everyone jumps in with their agendas. Just Pitiful.

    God bless the victims.

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

      Hmm.

      God blessing anything is an agenda.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Zombie Iron Chef America

    Has anyone mentioned anything about NYC hacving very strict gun laws yet?

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

      Criminals are exempt from NYC laws.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. FLO

    The main problem is MAN'S HEART , MAN'S SPRITUAL CONDITION.
    There is no man made law that can change that.
    We are living in a time where any mention of God is prohibited. (school, courthouse, ball games etc)
    Everything now is me, me ,me , me , me .
    Man's pride has always been the bigger problem.

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

      Enough about god already. Did he kill someone in NYC? Irrelevant.

      Back on topic.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Spike

    Again?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joe, San Diego

    Oooooohhh!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Deepika

    Another incident?? How many of these do we need before America finally realizes it needs a ban on the public access to guns?

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

      Great idea! Then only criminals will have them!! YAAAY you!

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

      We need gun control but that's only step one. We need to really have a conversation in this country about why so many are filled with hate even toward complete strangers and why so many are so full of anger and rage they can't control themselves anymore.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Allah Ackbarf

      Criminals are exempt from all bans, moron.

      Read the memo.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff

    Guns are not the problem people! CRAZY PEOPLE are the problem! This dingbat would have found another way to assault these people if there were no guns.

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

      and having access to a gun made it so much easier for him – and others.

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

      I honestly think that there are not ENOUGH guns on the street. And certainly not enough people that know how to effectively use one. In order to level the playing field against these whack-jobs seeking to do harm against the innocent, our general populous needs to take back the streets and defend themselves. I would absolutely LOVE to see a soccer mom gun down some nutball would be killer at the mall! How great would that be? Her daughter saying: "Nice shot Mom!!" Come on people, stop burying your heads in the sand, carry a gun and be prepared when dasterdly deeds occur. All of these lunatics deserve to be shot on scene, but they should not have the power to force the removal of our 2nd ammendment rights.

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

      But as long as we have so many crazy people, we need to cut off their access to guns. We definitely have a major mental health issue that is being ignored in this country, but we need to start by getting control of the violent aspect of that issue.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Allah Ackbarf

      Assassination is illegal, but yet Kennedy is dead. The laws are just so that nobody ever kills Kennedy again.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Frank

    I'll bet whoever did it was from out of town. A native New Yorker would never attempt a massacre at the Empire State Building – too many damn tourists around.

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

      Yeah, really a native would have much more consideration than that.

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

      What if a native New Yorker wanted to kill tourists?

      August 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. El Man

    Gun-loving Americans getting used to this kind of news now or not yet?

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

      I focus more on say, rogue cops beating skateboarding kids, and already handcuffed suspects.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real)

    Either it's a White man or a Muslim, but sounds more like a LUNATIC White man.

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

    Yes the end is near, IDIOTS are EVERYWHERE

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

      Anyone who comments about "the end" is an idiot.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Charlie

    News are about rare events, if the shootings in Chicago happen often then there is no "news" it's "normal". People stops reading "news" about shootings if they happen every day.

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

      Of course, the violent crime rate in Chicago has dropped since 2010. But don't let the facts get in the way.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      19 is a horrific number, even for Chicago...

      August 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. strangways

    hey – how about some gun control, America? How many of these well-armed nutjobs do the rest of us have to put up with as we all tip toe around the "gun rights" issue?. When someone puts a bullet in a gun and aims it at a civilian, there go their rights. enough is enough!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • hmc719

      Gun control only controls legal weapons. What are we supposed to do with all the illegal firearms? You think we're in danger now? Heighten gun control and it just gives the criminals more power.

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

      You still don't understand. If you add laws, etc to try to "control" purchase of guns, then you make it harder for the people who follow the laws. It will NOT remove firearms from the street, and will NOT prevent the people who don't follow laws to get or use them. It's that simple.

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

      I agree, if NY would allow law abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons this guy would have been stopped quickly! It's time to stop limiting law-abiding civilians from protecting themselves!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Allah Ackbarf

      Criminals are exempt from any and all laws.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
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