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. Paulie

    Obviously, gun control laws are super effectiv4e and prevent crims, as seen by new york's BAN on guns in public and how this was prevented. Clearly we need more laws because the ones on the books already work so damned well.

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

    clearly more guns would have prevented this

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

    Another mass shooting in the USA. Some will argue guns aren't the issue it's the people holding those guns. This problem isn't an easy fix. My argument would be to allow everyone to possess a concealed firearm. That way a criminal won't know who IS or ISN'T packing a gun. That might make someone think twice before committing an act like this

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

      How about REQUIRING everyone to carry a gun! that way we could not just protect ourselves, we could quickly settle arguments over parking spaces, discipline our kids more effectively, become movie reviewers in Colorado,
      even go to a streetcorner in Arizona or a small road in rural Louisiana and clearly express outr political differences. Great Idea, Eric!!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Peter C.

    Does anyone honestly think if this coward couldn't get a gun, he would have said "Oh well, I guess I can't do anything". Someone intent on hurting people will find other – possibly more deadly ways.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike the American

    If these people could have been armed they would have had a chance to save themselves. Thanks liberals once again. Great country you're making for us.

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

      Dumbest comment ever.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • harriet

      Oh yeah, tough talk. They wouldn't have had a chance, and probably would have killed more people in the process.

      I lived in Miami for those crazy two weeks or so when they tried the "everybody can walk around with a gun" thing. People getting shot in line at the pharmacy, walking down the street, from their cars: it was great fun.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. KB

    How many shootings do there have to before they do something about gun control?

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

      That's exactly what these shootings are intended to do...tap into your emotions so you follow in-step right behind the Pied Piper.

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

      gun control will only make things worst -_-

      August 24, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • G

      I agree. Gun control need to be seriously curtailed so that at least 1 in 10 citizens feels comfortable carrying a concealed weapon in public places like this

      August 24, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Bloomberg

      NY has some one the strictest gun control laws. Are you really that dumb?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • ohioflame

      Gun control for law abiding citizens? I doubt this person was a law abiding citizen.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • harriet

      Not until they are inside the NRA building or Congress, and probably not even then.

      So sad that the NRA actually runs the country

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

      No kidding...but our politicians are too frightened by or beholden to the evil lobby that is the NRA. Wish someone had the cajones to go toe-to-toe with them but they're all cowards and career politicians who are more concerned and focused on getting reelected than citizen safety. Enough is enough...

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

      Do you rally think gun control will keep guns out of evil hands?
      It will keep the guns out of the hands of decent citizens who need to protect themselves but NOT the ones who are out to kill!!! and if you believe otherwise, you need to think again!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Disgusted

      Just disgusting!! What's wrong with people? We're all stressed out and financially struggling. No excuses for this what-so-ever. Not only do we have to protect ourselves from foreign terrorism but now we have to protect ourselves from ourselves. Such a shame that i hesitate taking my children out to the movies and such anymore for fear of our safety.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. CEP

    Are you kidding me!

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

    Five human beings were shot this morning. Probably on their way to work, briefcase and/or coffee in hand, mentally going over what they would accomplish for the day and didn't know that a demonic spirited person would shoot them and take their lives. That is very serious. You talk about the media making a negative, big deal of this, but the vast majority of you posting here are starting fights over gun control instead of praying for the families of those five people. PLEASE STOP IT! Take a moment to be decent human beings who care about each other rather than do as the politicians do and use it as an excuse to make divisive comments. Please. Just...Care About What Is Right.

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

      You are right and wrong. Some people also care about the NEXT mass shooting.

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

      Praying isnt going to help them. But a glock would have...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. TparTpatriot

    Another lib goes on a rampage. This is the face of liberalism.

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

      your a nut. We are far more liberal in Canada, and this type of stuff rarely ever happens here.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. MadamXFitz69

    Horrible, and a bad shot to boot 10 injured and only 1 dead. Sad day in NY

    August 24, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. texas5555

    Maybe he just was ticked off because he could not buy a 32 oz soda

    August 24, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. Knee Jerk Idiots

    If New York only had laws banning guns this never would have happened.

    OH WAIT....

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

    what a maniac.... he has killed and innocent person who probably did not deserve these he should be the one dead

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

    Wondering whether the gunman is another disgrunted liberal hypocrite like last time, at the Family Reserach Council

    August 24, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • In the middle

      Disgruntled conservative hypocrites can't take it to the streets because their buddies will shoot him.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. disgustedvet

    The Country has been divided brother against brother,class against class,race against race,believer against non-believer and everyday the Media stokes the fire hotter . Then when some of the less stable members of our community explodes in rage everyone acts surprised. America's chickens are coming home to roost as a certain Minister once said.

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

      Amen.

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

      If you're going to explode, then kill your darn self... Just sick people who don't have a life and no regards ot people who have one. There's no excuse for unhappy people who want to destroy others.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:29 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