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. Melisa

    Does anyone proofread anymore? Is it SO important to be the first that we have to be sloppy in reporting??

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

      What's more important? A semicolon or information?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    Can you lunatics stop politicizing a horrifically event that happened an hour ago? Nobody cares about how you feel, pro or con, about gun laws. Let's find out the details of what actually happened.

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

    thats what happen to depressed people, theyre going crazy like what happen lately in colorado.....

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

    How many times does this have to happen before something is done about it?

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

      What "something" needs to be done about it? If there is a free country, there will be free people that will exercise their free will to do harm to other people. It is the price that we as a people pay to live in a free society (or whatever is left of it). The alternative could be the former Soviet bloc countries where violent crime was practically at ZERO because every single move of yours was monitored and controlled from the top. Careful what you wish for there buddy. I also hear gun and violent crimes in North Korea are at an absolute minimum.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • tony

      Thanks to the "patriot" Act, we now have many of the similar ant-freedom laws of the old Soviet Union.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    *horrific

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

    We live in a country where marijuana is illegal but guns aren't? Doesn't make sense to me.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. illuminasty

    shooter was heard saying "They're gonna put y'all back in chains" Thankfully one of the women shot will survive because the female body has ways of preventing a bullet from entering the body during a legitimate shooting

    August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • bahhb66

      Dammit,You made me spit coffee on my laptop

      August 24, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Valerie

    3 shootings in less than 3 months. What's wrong with America??

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

      Conservatives that think guns are fun is what's wrong with America

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

      These things have been happening for years. They're finally starting to get reported nationally. There have been several shootings recently in my local area involving multiple people getting shot and it was only reported locally. Gun violence is out of control in this country and has been for 20+ years. Time to reign it in.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • AGM

      Correction: Texas A&M, Wisconsin Sikh temple, Colorado, and this one. Wth?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tim Lucas

    ANOTHER Shooting? Seriously? This is getting ridiculous!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NJ

      If only EVERYONE in that area had had a gun. They all would have pulled out THEIR guns, and then...

      no one would know who was the bad guy, and who was the good guy, and maybe, 30 or 40 people could have been killed. Then the police could arrive, and everyone could get in on the fun.

      Oops, Concealed Carry, meet Unintended Consqeuences, and let me introduce you both to Irreversible Outcome...

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

    You know....they repealed Prohibition. I'm just saying, something needs to happen.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. Andrew

    You mean to tell me that someone had a gun in New York City? I thought it was illegal to have a gun in New York City? Oh right, criminals don't follow laws!

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

      yeah Andrew, your cynicism is typical for an angry white male. The FBI should be looking at your hard drive. But in the meanwhile the shooter bought his gun from a Texas 'shoot-em-up' online gun dealer. Have a great day.

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

    thank GOD for the second amendment!!! woohoo!!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    Of COURSE if guns were illegal, this guy would still have one. Because everyone knows crimminal gun runners from whom they can buy a gun in a day or two. Are you morons kidding me?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. threeonefour

    I don't think the issue is about gun control. These highly publicized shootings are becoming a beacon to already unstable people. This type of violence is now becoming an option rather than the unthinkable

    August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. Taffy Lewis

    Great example of how guns laws DO NOTHING to protect people.
    Guns are 100% illegal in NYC.

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