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.

Are you there? Share your story

• 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. Norton

    The right to own a gun is only one side of the coin. What about a person's right to enjoy public areas without the threat of being shot at – either deliberately or randomly – by some maniac who got his hands on a weapon capable of doing so much harm in only a few seconds? I'm afraid this is going to get far worse, not better.

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

    too bad more ppl didnt have guns, if they did this would never have happened.

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

      Oh yeah. well, i have this fire going. i'm going to put it out by adding some more wood to it. that way, it will burn itself out faster. yeah, good logic.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Richard Jones

    So I thought that worthless, idiot, stupid, jew mayor (pardon the redundancy) had banned guns in New Jork ???? Maybe he could get Schumer to help him on this. Or maybe he could just ask the Air Force to take out New Jork. Nobody would miss it !!!

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

    I gather most of you have very little common sense. If you had at least a little you would understand gun control would not have worked for this or virtually 90% of all gun deaths. Even if you had more gun control,the Dictatorship of Obama would only know who the LEGAL carrying gun owners are. Criminals do not register or buy their guns legally. Even if you banned manufacturing of guns in the US and purchasing them in the US,the criminals would still have them. DUH!

    What needs to be done,is stop having stations like CNN GLORIFY these idiots,the only press they get is a WORLDWIDE execution within 5 minutes of being found guilty(unless already killed like this guy)there needs to be no jail time for people who kill using guns..convict then execute,regardless of age. Until the criminals are actually punished for their crimes nothing will change.

    But again many of you complaining to change the lasw are also against putting people in prison or the death penalty. You can't have it both ways..even though you think you can.

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

    the use of cell phones or cars should be regulated because they are useful things, but could be dangerous is used improperly.... guns should be banned, they are useless unless to hurt people

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

      You like to have goverment control your life don't you?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • surroundedbyidiots

      spoo, what happens when there are no guns and that grocery store you expect to have the meat you want to eat in it, is just not there anymore???? You gonna starve yourself? or are you gonna pick up a gun and realize humans are the top of the food chain and at one time actually had to grow, catch, kill, clean and cook their own food?

      Maybe that's the way to handle this population problem everyone talks about....shut down the processed food places and make everyone fend for themselves.

      Grow up people and realize that your bleeding hearts are the ones that are making it so damned difficult to live in this great country.

      It is a shame that some of you actually believe the solution is to get rid of guns. If there were no guns, I am sure the criminals would find other ways to perpetrate their criminal ways.

      If you and I were in a dark alley and approached by someone with a gun, you will be very glad I had a gun on me to protect your lame ass

      August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. John Ross

    i was going to count the minutes until the media and commentators blamed guns and the Tea Party.....but I couldn't even start counting an the story line is there. OK – it's NYC. I am willing to bet that the shooter is a leftist. NYC is the home of lefties. Bloomberg is going to go monkey on this one – he already lost his cool when it happened in Colorado...this is the Empire State building!! Toughest gun laws in the country along with DC.

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

    No news reports the many civilians the United States kills everyday in the Middle East. How about we ban the US military?

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

      humanity is evil not the usa, when persia control the world is was a ruthless empire, when Rome controlled it was a ruthless empire, the problem is people not the usa , with to much power people like to abuse people

      August 24, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Roger in Florida

      You might as well start looking for black helicopters. You just made yourself a target.

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

      oh shut up

      August 24, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sharif Jones

    from what the witness just said, it sound like he ( the gunman ) was carrying a Desert Eagle. that is the only hand gun that is that big and is not a revolver.

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

    On June 26, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the first time in American history in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment provides for an individual right to own a gun. Done

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

    To all the people taunting Bloomberg's gun control law: Can any one of you say for sure that the guy was not from NY? With what little info we have so far, I don't think anyone can. He could have bought a gun in another state, drove to NYC with whatever wicked plan he had in his small cruel brain, and shot at people? Is that not possible?

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

    Who ever said socialism is bad? its the love child between communism and capitalism , to much government control is bad, and to much corporate control is bad, I would feel comfortable right in the middle, and who needs political parties. why these jerks can't all be independent and start holding each other accountable , instead of our current buddy buddy system

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

    The media needs to stop reporting these shootings. Nothing good comes of it!

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

    This country has been in a steady decline for many years and there is enough blame to go all around. We have become so divided that instead of coming together we attack each other and the "party" they belong to.

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

    another isolated incident gun nuts? they should come and remove the guns from all you gun nuts.

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

    Another day, another mass shooting. Aren't guns great?!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99