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. mike

    heres your proof that gun laws only disarm the law abiding citizens, leaving them vulnerable to every crazy walking.

    Armed law abiding citizens would've dropped his butt after the first shot.

    get a gun, protect yourself and those around you..

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

      Sounds like a wonderful world you live in. Give the Alex Jones theories a rest.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jake

    Here's the second amendment: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Hey, doesn't say anything about banning ammunition!

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

      Please! I thought back then the founding fathers did not ban slaves either. They did not use iPhone, iPOD too.

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

      I wonder what well regulated militia this shooter was in. What? You mean he was not in a WELL REGULATED militia?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Zelli

    The timing of this event .. soo soon after a previous event is very curious.. don't you all think?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. escher7

    Cops do all they can.No way to protect against a sudden random shooting. The nuts are coming out this season.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. ronvan

    Well, really not a surprise anymore. Get used to OUR new daily life and give thanks to all those companies making millions! NO, I am not against owning a gun, but the problem are those that THINK they can carry and become a life saving, hero! If I was there, and had my gun (s), I could have stopped it!? Such a childish, and unrealistic, thinking process. NO ONE knows what they will, or will not do, in a REAL, life or death situation!

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

      Those of us who have courage know exactly what they would do. You keep hiding behind mommy's skirt baby girl. You'll be safe there.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • duh

      The 1% for those of you who know who I am talking about know EXACTLY what they would do in these situations...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • billjones

      American Fury - yeah right – you'd be the first out of the foxhole, who are you kidding??

      August 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. intexas

    What happen to this world....so much killings, too many miserable people, we are so hi-tech and yet troubles is everywhere, and very few believe in God. People need to be more responsible with their own action – not harboring violence.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. dan

    I wouldnt be surprised if this turned out to be another false flag.

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

    Lets all try to remember People kill not guns. I agree we need strciter gun laws but criminals and crazy people will always be able to buy them if you have the money and the means anything can be bought. Make the laws too strict and the "good" people will not be able to get a gun license and only the criminals will have them it's really a catchh 22 situation. We need better convictions and harsher punishments!!!

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

      Exempt for guns used in Fast & Furious. Those guns kill.

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

      NYC has the strictest gun control in the country and it does nothing to prevent this type of thing.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chris Shark

    Guns or no guns, horrific things happen. When they do, and it involves a firearm, everyone starts whining about gun laws. We need to try and keep firearms out of the hands of mentally unstable people, not restrict everyone. In NYC, it's a major pain and expensive to get a long gun permit, (nearly impossible to get a pistol), and I would never want to jeopardize that. Even certain pocket knives are deemed "illegal". It's the person, not the tool. You can't prevent crazy—they will always find a way.

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

      "We need to try and keep firearms out of the hands of mentally unstable people, not restrict everyone." Tell THAT to the NRA

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

    may be the civil war started?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. maureen

    Another reason why I'm glad that I live in Canada...

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

      We're glad u do too....aye...lol

      August 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. olkvgn

    Well, what's really important is not this incident or Aurora, or the Giffords shooting in Arizona, or etc, etc........Columbine. But that we all can have guns in case the British come marching down our streets. THAT'S what's really important.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Johny Cash

    go to harlem with 500 dollars and you could buy a gun, or get robbed by someone with a gun, Dont think gun control really does anything

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

      Johnny Cash, have you ever even BEEN to Harlem?

      I'm raising 2 kids in Harlem right now. I went to college in Harlem, I've spent the better part of my 20 years in NYC living in or spending time in Harlem. It's not what you think it is at all.

      Sure there are a COUPLE rough spots, but not really. Your comment boils down the a relatively racist one because I can only imagine by "harlem" you mean "where the black people live, and where there's black people there's guns, violence, and robbery. Well, it ain't that harlem any more. If Harlem itself were a city it would be the 5th safest city in the US.

      and not that it matters, but I'm white, I work on Wall street, and I'm a proud Harlem resident.

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

      government control + gun control + cameras everywhere = government exercising their rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic, and political life of the population,

      August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Beefytee

      oh NYC is a police state for sure, I won't contest that. (I'm not kidding)

      August 24, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. sam

    It's all about gun control. Can anyone say m-a-n-c-h-u-r-i-a-n c-a-n-d-i-d-a-t-e? It's a political season, government wants us to believe we need gun control. They want us to make that decision. C'mon people, wake up and stop drinking the cool-aid!!!!

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

      watch out you to smart, you maybe labeled a terrorist

      August 24, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Robert Beck

    The worst part about this (other than the senseless loss of life) is that us New Yorkers are going to have do deal with an emboldened police force who will continue to tighten their grip on the city. I already feel like I live in a virtual police state, and I promise you this will do nothing to help the situation.

    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