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. Bob

    Theres only one way to fix this issue. MORE GUNS

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

    Thoughts and prayers to those affected by this.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. WhatNow

    Actually, it's more like welcome to the over-medicated, uneducated and self-absorbed America.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • There...I Said It

      And for anyone who believes that everyone having guns to defend themself will stop this nonsense you're sadly mistaken. The first bystander that shoots will find themselves the subject of a lawsuit from the culprit or their family.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • adam

      Lol undereducated really?

      May I ask what country of genius you are from ?? Iran? Russia? Belgium or maybe the phenom Brazil???

      You are an idiot , the USA whom the world owes most of the most used modern inventions and medicines.

      We havr idiots sure just like your country has you but spreading unfounded , weak, envious blanket statements is pure stupidity.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ~~~

      that hate their co-workers evidently. i'm not shocked. more shocked that it didn't happen sooner. lots of people hate their jobs and their co-workers. probably millions.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      You definately pegged that! Great post!

      August 25, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Linda M

    Do you think that guns are the only problem?...How about aour mental health systems that lets lunatics back out on the street? With Obamacare its going to get worse!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Really? Ppoint to the section where it says that the intent of the law is to release more psychotics back on the street: otherwise, zip it.

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

    why must the police always shoot to kill in these situations? Do they not spend hours at gun ranges? can think of a number of ways they can take down a shooter and take them to JAIL not a MORGUE!! B@$t@rds that think this is a good way to commit suicide should be brought to justice, not their maker.

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

      WHAT?!?!?! I'm glad the shooter is dead, no reason for a lengthy trial and tax-payers to pay for a murderer to sit in jail for life. Good riddens to garbage for the price of a few bullets versus a long trial and prison.

      Eye for an Eye would be more of a deterrent than magically banning guns.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. Emille Robinson

    Get these guns off the streets. My daughter was there - and she is a hysterical mess right now. This something she's never going to forget.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Nicholas D.

    Unbelievably sad. ANOTHER mass shooting. 3rd one in 3 weeks. Not a problem,huh? Let's here it for the NYPD who shot the perpetrator. Not the "alleged" perpetrator, the actual jerk with the weapon. Maybe, if every policeman took the NYPD approach, we could make these sick, gun-toting murderers think twice. You other cops out there, whether you're in Colorado or Arizona, take aim and shoot the guy (why it is ALWAYS a male?) with the gun. That kid who killed a dozen in a movie theatre? You cops caught him red-handed with the weapons and didn't kill him? You want to scare away mass murderers and make them think twice? Shoot them all when caught in the act. Just like training that puppy where to poop on the paper. If each potential mass shooter had to think that the first cop he met was going to kill him, it MIGHT just make these uncourageous, loner sickos think twice. At the least, it will save a lot of money on trials and send all the media types back to reporting on other big stories like naked Princes.

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

      Umm, wrong country.

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

      Just provided they don't instead shoot at all the NRA CW permit holders rushing into the fray to defend the innocents. Then we'd nver know who the real perps were.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. two4america

    I thought it was illegal to have a gun in New York? I guess if guns were legal there, the law abiding citizens could have had a chance to protect themselves.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • In the middle

      Ha. Is that true??

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

      You can have a gun in NY City, just not a large coca-cola.

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

      Like law abiding citizens who were allowed to carry and protect themselves shot down Jared Lee Loughner before he could hurt anyone? Or Maj. Hassan? Or Charles Whitman? Or John Lee Malvo? Or James Holmes? Or...anyone, ever?

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

      eye for an eye makes world blind. Everyday shooting is due to to too many guns. Even if u have gun you don't carry one to work or mall.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. Johny Cash

    As you can see, people are pretty sick and i dont mean the gun-man i mean the bloggers, makes you wonder whats the world coming to. i almost throw up reading some peoples comments

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

      I agree. Isn't it sad that so many are more worried about their gun rights than these poor people who were shot. What a heartless bunch of do nothings we have become. Where is our compassion?

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

    freelance ~ Way to go. Never let a tragic event go to waste. Your party is proud of you.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. CJ

    You don't know your facts. Guns are not illegal in New York. They don't allow you to carry concealed. You can still own a gun. This country is going to crap and will be socialist before long. 😦

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

      It's you pro-gun folks trying to make a joke that this couldn't happen because guns are banned in NYC.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. JanNYC

    This is becoming more common, with disgruntled employee venting out their frustrations on innocent people. Companies should flag employees like this or offer therapy or yoga, mediation, or something to avoid this from happening.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. anchorite

    The NRA gun-toters are just upset that week after week, some looney, some LEGAL gun owner opens fire on innocent people. No legal gun owner ever STOPS a guy like this, despite their claim that more guns make us safer. Only cops ever stop a guy like this, and they're pro-gun-control.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. tony

    I wonder why it's always the legal gun owners and not the criminals, who do these massacres in public places.

    Perhaps the NRA is supporting the wrong people???

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

      Yeah you only hear about law abiding quite young and old men who do this. Criminals mostly go after other criminals.

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

      That's like saying you wonder why it is always the valid license carrying drivers that kill most people in traffic related accidents. I wonder why is it so hard to get through some thick skulls that laws restricting gun ownership only restrict the gun ownership of those who abide laws, hence leaving the criminal and the government as the only ones with access to arms. I also wonder how come most of these mass-killings seem to take place in the jurisdictions with the strictest gun laws.

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

      The whole NRA legal carrying in public in peacetime concept is based on the ridiculous NRA idea that a gun is a defensive weapon. If that were the case no soldier would ever be killed by a gunshot in war.

      Carr ing gun can only be a deterrent again an unarmed assailant. If an armed criminal shoots first, your odds of winning are close to zero.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Really Really?

    "Police have closed several several streets around 5th Avenue and 34th Street in Manhattan."
    Soooooooo, I'm guessing that "several several" is a lot more than usual? Good job CNN.

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