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. John Miller

    At least they killed the shooter. If almost every gun is going to be available anywhere at any time, and every sociopath is freely allowed to have one, the police should be allowed to shoot these murderers on sight, no questions asked. Any lawsuits due to these incidents should be directed to the gun lobbies.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. rednaxelat

    I wish they wouldn't call them gun "men". Anyone who needs a gun to prove his manhood isn't a man.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. Yoda

    The new normal for America

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

      This is not new America unless you are young... This is really what the world has become... If it's not your way you need to create issues with people who are living a normal life.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Duke of Hazards 212

    I am not a fan of Obama but these things have been happening way before we knew who he was.

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

      Bull! This is a product of the Obama economy.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • geratt

      its refreshing to see an non-obama supporter who actually realizes the facts. thank you and i respect your intelligent opinion.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pepina

      And, you are absolutely right; it has happened before, it will happen again .... even after Obama is relegated to one paragraph in a middle school history book. It has nothing to do with the enforcement of or, even, the magnitude of laws. Some say that the only, true, preventative, unilaterally enforced and equally prosecuted law is .. speeding in a school zone.

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

      what does the president have to do with this? Anti-Obama myself but just saying

      August 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • If You Love America You'll Not Vote For Obama Or Bloomberg

      But Obama wants them to happen.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Or maybe it is because you are paying more attention?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • jullou

      Really? To this extent??? Obama has created more deficit than all other presidents combined. Obama's tactics and programs have been tried all over the world and have failed. Socialism is an idea of people who died a long time ago. I would think that young people today would reject the old failures of the past and find new ideas that work.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Does anyone know who OBAMA is today? We know more about the shooter than about the President (HNIC,NAANT). Also, as a retired Deputy Sheriff I can tell you that all Competent police officers do NOT fire a weapon if noncombatants are in the line of fire. One NEVER fires if others are behind the intended target. All of these officers should be dismissed and charged with negligent discharge of a firearm

      August 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Katie

    well these things have happened and always will. Not to be insensitive, the media is just riding a lot of them out and making every shooting into a bigger deal than it was before James Holmes. Shootings happen all over the world every hour, dont let their coverage change your perception of the 65 million americans alone who are responsible gun owners.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Pepou27

      Put your head in the sand, and hope for the best, right? You think you will be safe from a NRA gun lover?

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

      I agree Katie.

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

      As much as I hate guns I have to agree with you.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Thecentrist11

      I agree coverage makes a world of difference. I think that more shootings should be covered though. Covering these events is going in the right direction.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Anthony Busby

      People need to remember one thing. Guns do not kill people. People kill people. The government puts more restraints on gun control and that only makes it harder for people to defend them self. Criminls are criminals because they dont follow the law. If you put a ban on guns, criminals will still aquire them. If every citizen carried a concealed fire arm over the age of 21 who had no felloney, mental incapasity, or legitimet reason to not have the right to possess a fire arm people like this guy would think twice before committing an attrocity like this. I am all for fire arms and think people need to all have one who are deemed fit to carry.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      Keeping your head in the sand is exactly what the US is doing on gun controls. Have a look at the number of people killed by guns in the US as compared to other countries. The scary part of this is that the response is to arm everyone and this will stop the problem – really? You are going to start to have some very large groups of shootings. Imagine that a number of other people pulled out their concealed weapons. You need to look at the fundamental problem to have the right solution.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • scout13

      Katie- if this is you 'not being insensitive' I shudder to think what you're like when you're actually being insensitive. Contrary to your flippant, unconcerned assertion that this is not a 'big deal'- I'm sure the families who will be burying a loved one that they did not expect to be callously gunned down on an ordinary Friday would disagree. It doesn't matter how many responsible gun owners there are- loss of life is tragic regardless of what you're comparing it to.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Blarg

      Randy, ever notice how these massive killings with guns are routinely done in places where guns are supposed to be illegal or banned? We can draw two conclusions from this. One, criminals don't follow the law. GASP!!!! Two, responsible citizens carrying weapons for defense is a deterrant to violent crime. There is not one single instance of a state opening up concealed carry to the populace that resulted in higher gun crime. In most cases, crime went down, and in the few cases where it didn't go down, it NEVER went up. Sorry, chief, but your logic falls short on this one.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. Pepou27

    The massacre of the week. To be continued .....

    August 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. Yitzhak

    Typical Weekly American Terrorism.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Boo

    New York 1 (a local news station) reports that the shooter worked in the Empire State building.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. Zelli

    You want Gun Control? ... Great now the criminals will have every ability to walk all over "law abiding citizens"...
    Honestly, go look at other countries that have banned guns. Do research before making ignorant comments. If you want to be a sheeple go move to another country where Big Brother is watching you 24/7, shouting at you if you walk wrong down the sidewalk ...

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

      in "every other country where they banned guns" – i.e. countries with strict gun control laws, gun-related crimes are significantly lower than in the US.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • MM

      Give us some examples. Dazzle us.

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

      BTW that was @Zelli not Live

      August 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Thresher 13

      Well said!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Guns are banned in GB but there crime rates are Higher...There goes that theory Einstein....

      August 24, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • axel

      @LiveFromATX
      Also other countries walk all over the idea of private property and survey their citizens like everyone of them is the enemy; they can enjoy their restricted freedoms and be as defenseless all they want but we'd rather be able to defend ourselves here.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Thresher 13

      How about countries where all military aged men have their weapons at home.. like Switzerland... (their military is comprised of all men being trained and ready to be called into service if required) they have hardly any crime!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • SirToYou

      What's this nonsense about CRIMINALS with handguns. The shooter could have purchased the gun legally, just like Colorado and Arizona recently. The shooter was not a criminal until he shot his co-worker, or perhaps brought the gun into the city. Heck , he could be an NRA member. You know, the kind of guy that thinks a handgun is a way to settle disputes. Nice try teabagger.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. CommonSense

    What? But Bloomberg's NY City has the strictest gun laws in the nation! You mean to tell me, the criminals there don't abide the gun control laws? Proof that no matter how strict the laws, gun control does not work!

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

      Or proof that it's easy to buy a weapon in places without gun control and then carry them to places with gun control. This says nothing about NYC laws; it's not as though there's a wall around the city preventing people from getting in. God you people and your straw men...

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

    to think i was almost fool by cheap propaganda news....that mexico was more dangerous than US.......boy...was I wrong......

    August 24, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. bdfd

    Nothing new. Move on.

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

      Are you serious? I believe you would feel differently if you were directly affected by this. That is pretty insensitive...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • ThatsLife

      @amuhammad he has a right to be insensitive. First Gun control then emotion and thought control? Besides Jesus promised to come back and kill every single person on Earth and he is Glorified and Worshiped. Ever think these killers are doing the Lord's work?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Uncle A

    I'm a westcoster and I was just wondering. In areas that have been made safe for the public, by these complete gun bans. Do all of your politians and judges have permits and armed security at all time? If so could you explain why they would in an area they have made safe with a gun ban.

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

      Uncle A, generally those officials are only provided government protection at work, unless a specific threat mandates it. Exceptions are SCOTUS, POTUS, VP, cabinet members and family. That's why there was no Secret Service present with Gabby Giffords.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. Natasha

    Gun culture

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

      we had a local guy robbed and beat to death with a baseball bat. Once we get rid of the guns we can not rest until every baseball bat is off the shelves. I almost forgot about skillets and the shamWoW they have to go also.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • SirToYou

      ThatsLife: Nah, just morons with handguns.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JDT

    Im so sick of this. Everyday another shooting, more innocent people killed for no reason at all. I wish the shooter wasnt killed. Death was to easy of a punishment for him. Long Live New York. God Bless

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