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. Pat

    Was this a legitimate shooting? Cause if not, the body has ways to shut it down...

    August 24, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • A Flock of Illegals

      OMG _ THATS FANTASTIC!!!!! LOL
      "theres no way a bullet can kill in an illegitimate shooting"

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

      Very funny and witty. FREE KEVLAR and ABORTIONS FOR ALL.

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

      LMAO!
      i love it! if its not legitimate, they wont really die... ahhh this is a sad story but this comment literally made me laugh.
      thank you.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bob C.

    The US gov. black ops team is sending out brainwashed killers all over America in an attempt to win gun ban support.

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

      You're delusional

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

      I wouldn't put ANYTHING past Bloomberg/Obama/Holder. Anything! They are arch-traitors to this country.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnS

      What do you think the purpose of Fast & Furious was?

      August 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lolol

    The UN Gun ban treaty will require many more shootings, mr president. We will also require more drugged out patsies.
    have a nice day.

    FBI Director.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. frs

    Kudos to the 'unarmed guard' who chased the guy. That takes uncommon courage.

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

      More courage than shown by the police who fired back at him and killed nine more people in the process.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. IFMOY

    Chalk one for NYPD, Shoot to kill, keep the city safe, 34st Empire State Bldg, has around 4-10 cops patroling the area including tactical assualt (SWAT).

    August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. A Flock of Illegals

    *BANG*
    *THUD*
    "POLICE – FREEZE"

    August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. George Zimmerman

    See, if only I was there...

    August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. Alicia

    What is wrong with people? Seriously?!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. freelance

    yet another TEA PARTY PATRIOT using his toys(guns).

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

      Yet another ignorant Liberal reply. What a fool you are. A disgrace to America is a better discription actually.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Amabo Karab

      Great conclusion.....way to label people. You have become that which you despise...you are now the bigot you originally opposed

      August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Here's your solid proof that your states draconian guns laws does nothing to protect innocent civilians. leaving law abiding citizens unarmed and unable to defend themselves, creates a "crazy man kill zone" where he has no fear that anyone will stop him. If this was Texas or florida, he would've only gotten off one shot, before a law abiding Conceal carry citizen dropped him like a sack of concrete. You idiots in NY are sitting ducks and your gun laws leave you helpless to these crazies. Bloomberg and his anti gun BS is now proven to be a farce. yet Bloomturd carries his own concealed weapon where ever he goes, yet you can not.

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

      Seriously?

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

      I'm no tea party fan but what on earth are you talking about? Where did you read that he was affiliated with the Tea Party? Or are you just making things up and jumping to the conclusions that support your views?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    OK this is getting old.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Unethically Ethical

    Thoughts and prayers to those injured or to the families that have lost loved ones today. It's a sad thing to hear about on any day but it just goes to show that violence can be unleashed at anytime by anyone. This happens a little over a month after the Colorado movie theater shooting, not nearly enough time for people to finish mourning that tragedy. Whether the people of The United States likes it or not, gun control does need to happen – any person can have a bad day, own a gun and just decide to take it out on others. I am very interested as well as to who the shooter was (because I assume everyone will be pointing a finger to the Arab community first).

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

      It is ethically unethical to comment on that about which you know absolutely nothing.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Warlock Sundance

      Tell me how gun control works and how it will stop this madness? As I see it, Regulated gun purchases are done through strict procedures. Criminals are unable to purchase legal guns. That being said., if gun laws cannot prevent someone who is legally prohibited from purchasing a gun....how does having laws make a difference?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. John

    Amercans are nuts!!! They deserve what they get.

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

      I agree...can't wait to retire and get the hell out of this stupid country...

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

      disagree

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

      May I ask where you are from, sir?

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

      Norweigans are nuts too I guess because 1 man killed 77 people. Your logic is amazing. Hopefully you're in a position of decision making where ever you live.

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

      what an ignorant person you are

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

      All Americans? That's a silly comment.

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

      I'm assuming you met each and every one of us to make such a general/ignorant statement. However I don't recall meeting any unapologetic closed minded people recently so I think you missed one.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. Johny Cash

    Sadly yes, there is no right or wrong when it comes to guns, Honestly. If you lost your guns government wouldn't have to fear the people and you would have a police state government. what next lets get rid of kitchen knifes too?

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

      Agree!!!!

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

      Yes, because all the countries in Europe who limit gun ownership are police states...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      We don't have to get rid of guns, but we really should make it little bit harder to get access to them.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      Ridiulous argument. I don't live in a 'police state' in the UK, and neither does anybody in the rest of Europe.

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

      I don’t think a kitchen knife can kill 10s of fleeing people. Many can easily recover for injuries. But a fully automatic gun brings down dozens of fatalities with in a minute. Apples to Apples please!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Fraser

    here we go again ,more vigils, more prayer sessions, more candles, what a waste of time, never works !

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

      Don't work?

      Those are meant to provide comfort and a sense of closure. They're not 'preventative measures' against future violence...

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

      This is not a prayer issue, that's for sure. Maybe it's an overall unhealthy culture issue.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. John Kramer

    19 people were shot in Chicago last night, 8 in a single incident. Did CNN have breaking news for that, or even an article on the main page?

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

      All you can do is let people on here know and make them aware, sometimes these news sites don't give all the stories out there. Thank you for bringing it to the public's attention.

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

      For Chicago – that is standard – 20 would make the news.

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

      Source?

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

      It's Second City John.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • US Citizen

      This is totally awful!!! So terrible to hear about this!!!

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

      That's odd. I thought it was illegal to possess a fire arm in Chicago. I guess that's working well. People are right, if guns are made illegal the problem goes away, we can all look to Chicago for its success.

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