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. ingrid

    i am so enarged by this!!! another shooting..thank god police reacted quickly as they could..pray there are no serious fatallys

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

    Keep your ammo dry pilgrims!

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

    This is the problem with the direction we are headed. Texting and cell phone calls while driving kill more people every year than school, theater and mall shootings. So, what next, are we gonna ban cell phones now. We have laws in place to regulate it and to show people there will be consequences to these actions but do you think it's gonna stop everyone from texting. This is awful what's happened today and so many of the people you are blaming here, spend their time and money promoting and educating others about gun safety.

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

      I am a gun owner and you know what I am VERY SCARED OF and would like banned? SUV's! Especially people driving them at 30mph over the speed limit on city streets while talking on the cell.

      Be afraid of SUVs. Be VERY AFRAID. I am willing to have my guns be banned if SUVs are banned also. They kill more people than guns do. How many of you anti-gun folks drive an SUV? Or a "show" truck (decorated pickup truck)?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. dontdrinkthekoolaid

    so there are laws banning drugs and based on theories here that should translate into no one possessing them, right? sports ban steroids and you cannot buy them so problem solved, right? everyone needs to really look at the problem and banning guns is a band-aid not the solution. the solution is the erosion of personal values, family units, etc. If I am a kid growing up today, what do I learn? hate the rich and expect more for doing less. ban things that are bad, expect for drugs such as marijuana which we should legalize... I think people are losing there mind and need to step back and really think about it

    August 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. WhatNow

    For those bringing up the Norway shooting...just some facts for you all: Norway averages 10 gun homicides per year compared to around 12,000 in US. The 84 killings in Norway is equal to about 1 day of shootings in US. So, that is really a poor example for you to use. More importantly, we should be concerned about these poor people and start working together to find a way to stop these mass shootings.

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

      One way to stop mass shootings like this is to read the article and note that the perp only shot ONE person and the cops – through grotesque incompetence, killed not only the perp but nine other people. Maybe disarming the police would help stop situations like this.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      Another poor example would be to compare a country that has a white population in the 98% range to a country with a vast minority population. Hey! Maybe THAT is the reason why they have less crime!

      But then that would be politically incorrect to mention wouldn't it?

      August 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. David Beam

    I am glad In NYC it is illegal to carry a gun, without out the law this would have occurred.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. Zombie Iron Chef America

    One less lunatic adding his boiled urine to the gutters. At least ten less people to deal with during rush hour tonight. Win win!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pat

    How ironic would it be if the gun used was from Fast and Furious...

    August 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bee

    Sooooo sad!! People are literally losing their minds!! Log on to http://spilldabeanz.com/ for the Latest in Crimes, Fashion and Celebrity Entertainment!!!

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

      your shameless advertisment is also sad. If you sincerely want to leave a comment on this article, dont add your advertisment at the end. It makes you seem insincere

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

    I am quit certain that this is what the first amendment was for, end sarcasm. It's time for the NRA to be sued for something creative. Like depraved indifference. Someting, anything. Too many guns!

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

      Umm, the first amendment is only for shooting off your mouth.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Nadine

      I agree.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Nadine

      I agree with Watcher comment.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It’s the second amendment you moron.

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

      If everyone had a gun, this guy would have been dead after his first shot... and you need to learn how to spell.

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

      2nd amendment. Get a copy of the Bill of Rights. My money is betting that it was some religious nut concerned about his 1st amendment rights. Don't forget, all of these shooting occur "In Jesus' name, amen."

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

      I was in the middle of this just now. It was horrible !!!! and I still would not agree with you.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • If You Love America You'll Not Vote For Obama Or Bloomberg

      We know government is full of virtue so only government should have guns.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnS

      It's ignorant treasonous cretins like you that make life Hell for ultra-law-abiding gun-owners like me. Guns are inanimate objects and had nothing to do with this crime. It was a defective person that did this – and stupid cops who lit up a crowd when they should never have fired back.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Ignorant, stupid, unaware, moron, surely there are other words to describe this cretin!

      August 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MyFeelsMatter

    Obama's America.

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

      What a fool!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • kflanigan

      The NRAs America

      August 24, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • A Flock of Illegals

      Maybe U2 can put on a concert to create another smokescreen

      August 24, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. confusedtransformation

    Why does this story have terrible sentence structure and grammar. I have noticed at least three major mistakes and it is only a short update. CNN you really need to hire people who know how to proof read, this does not look professional at all.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. MrBullard

    Yes, we need gun laws like Switzerland which has no standing army and relies solely on a militia. Every male of military age is required to be trained on and possess a fully automatic weapon in the home with at least 100 rounds of ammunition. Why don't these things happen there?

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

      They do....

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

      You want the Swiss rules? Currently the militia do NOT keep ammunition in the home, except for a few rapid response soldiers. Ammo sold at ranges must be used there. They are subject to inspection of ammo in the home....
      Also, note that each person is a well trained soldier, not random untrained redneck yahoos.

      Notice that they have a "well-regulated militia"? Maybe we too should restrict gun ownership to members of a well-regulated militia.

      Still want the Swiss system?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real)

    Oh, yes, just another day in the neighborhood for the White people to kill.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. Terrorist?

    Terrorist?

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

      Nope – disgruntled flamer.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
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