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. jcolucciello

    Mordrud – of course not, but putting people are buying guns everywhere it's much too easy

    August 24, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Look Out!

    Oh no, now those folks will have to defends gun owners again.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. William L. Turner

    If these wackos are going to be shooting people, can't they at least pick better targets than random innocent people. Without naming names or organizations, there are plenty which come to mind lol

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

    I love how gun advocates will take this opportunity to tell us that this is why we should have LESS gun laws. "See, they don't work." That is pouring salt in the wounds of the victims of a tragedy like this one.

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

    See, told you we should ban soda bigger than 12oz...

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

    Bloomberg's illegal gun control is a joke that only disarms law abiding citizens. Crime has DROPPED everywhere guns are allowed.

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

      Not true...nyc has the lowest gun violence of any major city in the country....stop spreading disinformation hick.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    This story is a lie. This did not happen in NYC. Everyone knows guns aren't allowed in NYC.

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

      Hey Shevone, we call this 'sarcasm'.... The sarcastic part being that you can have the TOUGHEST gun-control laws in the country (Chigago) and even NYC and still have 'guns' magically appearing to be used by lunatics to kill people.

      Now go back to your TV instead of going to learn something.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. tech

    why are pro-NRA people sooooo offended all of a sudden???? Their guilty is the result of all the pro-gun comments. If guns are easily available – nuts will use them. If they are not available, then they cannot kill. I think most supporters of NRA are nuts anyways

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

      so true. all the gun nuts are insane.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • mackd1313

      But doesnt NYC have some of the strictest gun laws in the USA? So just admit the strict gun law did not stop a nut from gettng a gun and killing someone. Its that simple!

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

      How do you make them non-available? Do tell us how this magical fantasy works. When prohibition was in effect, how did that work out?

      Would there be a house to house search?

      You gun-control people are 'nuts' if you think making more laws will 'magically' fix the problem.

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

      like narcotics, guns are freely available on the street. the nra has nothing to do with that. getting a gun is only a problem if you want to do it legally. prohibitions are ineffective. they just encourage a strong black market.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. AJMD

    This is a mistake – New York has tough, 'progressive' gun control laws, so strict that hardly anyone who lacks political connections can even own a handgun there, so CLEARLY this really didn't happen.

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

      don't be a tool.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      BS. You can own a handgun in New York: the difference is that New York does not think that churches, bars, and schools are appropriate places to bring one. If 10 people had been shot in, say, Dallas, would you be making the same idiotic claim?

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

      You can own a handgun in NY? It would probably take about 5 years to get a permit to 'own' a handgun, and even then it only allows you to keep it in your home, not take it out other than to travel with it in a locked box to a shooting range. Getting a 'carry permit' is next to impossible.

      So please enlighten us as to how easy it is to get a handgun in NY?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Denise

    CNN coverage has really gone downhill: spreading unconfirmed rumors; asking stupid questions of (or worse putting words in the mouths of) bystanders. We used to be confident we were getting the straight story from our newscasters. Now they seem not much better than the bloggers. Sometimes their behavior is humorous. Sometimes (as when I heard them announce that Gabby Gifford, someone I know personally, was dead), it is very harmful.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. Hitman

    If you see a man wearing a turban and a long beard with a gun stuck in his belt, run for your life pilgrims!

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

    What is the mayor doing now – don't just ask the presidential candidates – but try something. He was more worried about Big gulps than guns

    August 24, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. RealityCheck

    Only law abiding citizens will obey gun laws. Anyone can get a gun privately without a background check. It's too late to restrict guns, as there are millions of privately owned guns for sale. The only way to solve this problem is to come up with a way of evaluating a persons mental health, and determining possible warning signs that someone is going to have a psychotic event. These people don't develop these issues overnight.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. w5cdt

    I think people are stressed. The press contributes to the stress. The weak ones in the population emerge to do tragic things like this. We need to chill on the political demagogy as well.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kislev4

    It is People in General that are all screwed up...It is EZ to pick up a gun...and go on a rampge...like living in some dumb video game...we have become a Nation of Violence...

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