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. jamiez

    What a shame. Why doesn't anyone realize that were at war with ourselves? OUR Country needs help!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. ames

    thanks for the detailed report CNN.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. hog

    so much for bloomies gun laws, the bad guy will always get guns, just ask holder

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

      NYC has some of the lowest gun violence in the country for a major city so I don't think you can call all of the gun laws in nyc ineffective. One instance doesn't make a case.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. JohnQPublic

    so the gun ban is ineffective?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. Hillbilly Redneck

    That dang Obama's tryin to take away our guns!

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

      good I no other democratic out try allows dumb civilians to carry aprons why shd America!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. solutions

    I cant wait until we outlaw guns and the suicide vests show up. Nut jobs are nut jobs plain and simple

    August 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. mike

    Were any of our gun rights injured? That would be the real tragedy.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. Snake-Bio

    Gee, if only those 10 shot people had their own guns with them, this never would have happened. Manadatory gun ownership 2013!!!

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

      I hope your joking!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • jake the snake

      right, because if guns were legal, each of those 10 people would have been walking around with their iphone in one hand, their handgun in the other, and their guard up at all times...just in case some nut tries to shoot them...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. jcolucciello

    WOW – what a surprise another shooting. Until lawmakers, cities, towns and the Federal Government step up to plate and realize that guns need to be eradicated completely from society, this madness is going to continue. We're not safe anywhere anymore – what a friggin joke.

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

      SO Jcolucciello – you think the US govt can peaceably disarm over 100 million people? do the math. you're living in a fantasy world.

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

      guns need to be eradicated? really? you have obviously never studied into other societies who have eradicated guns, or at least tried to. you can have handguns in england but their crime rate is still really high. criminals do not plan to follow laws!!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mario

    Yes, reaching a quarter of a mile into the sky... who cares!!! 10 people have been shot, you butt munch!!

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

    The gunman must be associated with some middle eastern terrorist group!

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

      not really! He is more of the typical home grown Tea Party Patriot types..

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

      they dont use guns they use their own bodies

      August 24, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. MrApplesauce

    Was he a judge from Texas?

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

    This is getting ridiculous. Put these worthless individuals in front of a firing squad. No... wait.. this is America. We will throw them in a padded room or pay for their medical care while they sit in a cell on our dime.

    This country is a f****** joke.

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

      so freaking true!!!!! this is to a point of disgusting with these shootings already

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

      Gotta agree with you on this one... this country is turning into a joke.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jrod

    Where's LL Cool J when you need him?

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

      funny but not at the same time

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

    Are you pro gun ppl really that dumb? Or have you just never been to NYC?
    There are 2 important points here:
    1) illegal guns are available in NYC because other places sell guns legally to illegal gun dealers who bring them to NYC. So no, city level gun bans dont work but national level requrements for traceability of fire arms would work.
    2) Defence? are you absolutly insane? The streets of NY by the empire statebuilding have probably 500-1000 in the vacinity all day long. Imagine if just 10% was a concealed carry and NYPD had to respond to an active shooter call with a 50-1 probability that the gun you see is not the shooter. Its bad enough they have to worry about shooting undercovers which happens all the time even with their color of the day protocols.

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

      "illegal guns are available in NYC because other places sell guns legally to illegal gun dealers who bring them to NYC"

      You attack pro-gun people as being dumb when in fact you are not intelligent to for the obvious conclusion from what you wrote above. The conclusion is that unless borders are sealed off, no amount of additional gun regulations can prevent criminals from getting them. You have proved my point with your statement. Is is possible to seal off all the U.S. borders and round up all the guns out there in the hands of criminals? No! Thus, additional regulations will not get us where we all (including myself) want to be – less violence.

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

      Im sorry i miss spoke. i do not understand the city that is new york enough to make the ignorant comments that i just made. i apologize for my stupidity in assuming that new york is like every other southern city. i failed to realize how diverse nyc really is and the complications that go along with that. i applaud the nypd and the security guard who put their lives in danger to keep a decorum in the city that is really like no other. i am truly grateful that this was not a bigger tragedy

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

      Where did you even get close the borders from? This is a simple supply issue, stop the gun trafficers from being able to buy unregistered fire arms in red states and you'll stop the urban shootings in blue states. This isn't rocket science. Shootings in general is another problem but that in particular is why a city wide ban will never have an impact. It is however very true that more guns in ny will not solve anything. At last check, nyc had 35,000 cops they probably responded to this incident in less than 60 seconds. They got it covered.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
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