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. Diane

    What is up with all of these shootings! What happened to peace and love in America?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • thewiz71

      The NRA and the TEA Party (orchestrated by the Koch brothers and Karl Rove). That's what happened.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Obama

      REPUBLICANS.........

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

      absolutely right 71

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

      thewiz71 ~ You were so close. If you had added Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney, it would have been perfect. try harder next time.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ldiamo

    Obviously, the report is false. Guns are illegal in New York City.

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

      then more needs to be done. CONFISCATION

      August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bloomberg

    Not really, you just hear about them more now. Same thing happened a few years back with "all" the shark attacks. Turned out shark attacks were lower that year that the previous 5 years. Funny how the media can cause mass panic.

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

      In fact, the shark attacks all happened in the summer of 2001. Then 9/11 happened and we forgot all about the shark attacks.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • canuck

      The medium is the message" is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • SirToYou

      Citation please

      August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • bruce brinkmann

      There are more people killed every year by coconuts falling on their heads than people that are killed by sharks. Years go by sometimes and no people are killed by sharks. It's the medias job to create fear and sensationalize minor things and sometimes things that never even happened.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. FRED

    THE GUNS DIDN'T KILL THESE PEOPLE , THE NRA AND THE GOP DID IT.

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

      It must be true he typed it in all CAPS!

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

      And I am happy to see that you are not beneath exploiting a tragic event to grind your political bias on. Well done. Your party is proud of you.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. fotografr

    No, we don't need gun controls. We all need to arm ourselves to the teeth. Then we can have a nice, peaceful and fear-free lifestyle like, say, the citizens of Mogadishu.

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

    Recessions and war tend to drive up incidents of mental illness and violence and feelings of hopelessness. Don't blame guns here, blame this era we're in. It's a tough phase, but this too, shall pass.

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

      I agree as to the rise of mental illness, however as for a passing phrase....that I am not too sure.

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

      Yes, because during the Great Depression people were running around shooting people.....not. In fact during the great depression we had an even stronger sense of national pride than we do now and people felt a stronger urge to provide social assistance to fellow Americans. If the Great Depression happened now, most Americans would let the others starve in the streets.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. TucsonMan

    It has been reported, the shooter did NOT use a handgun. It was a SHOTGUN. Shotguns have LESS restrictions than handguns.

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

    Something tells me that THIS GUY didnt fit the "STOP AND FRISK" description!

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

      Well played sir.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jessica

    Criminals will obtain whatever weapons necessary for their crime....NO MATTER what the law says. You can't blame the NRA for crazy whack jobs.

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

      You mean like spatulas, or horse whips?

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

    This is a sad situation. I pray for the victims and their families. We as a society need to take the time to look for ways to end this path of escalating violence. The comments about Chicago are part of this entire cultural glorification of guns and hatred that has become so common in every day life. Where will it end? Whatever happened to "give peace a chance?"

    August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. no

    It's not time.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. terry Moore

    What...and no gun toting citizen there to stop this violent crime from occurring...? So, NRA, if guns don't protect us, as you would have us believe, what good are they ??? Or does this only work in Texas....? Cause everywhere else, it is always the Police that does the job, as they are actually supposed to do...Look at the last shootings and ponder with that little peanut of a brain that you collectively share....

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

      Yes, the police came and did their job AFTER 10 people had already been shot. Remember NY has a ban on guns?

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

      Uhmmm what food where the police to the first 10 people that got shot? Remember, supreme court rules that the police have NO DUTY to protect the citzenry.

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

      @Workinprogress So you would like to have ten people shooting at each other, probably not on a crowded NYC street? The first "law abiding citizen" shoots the killer, another guy sees this and shoots the wrong guy, good chance he misses and shoots an innocent bystander, somebody else shoots back, nobody knows who started it at that point. Is that what you want?

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

      @Dmitri
      No, I don't want a gun fight between innocent people. There are ten people that were probably not armed because there is a law against guns in that city and guess who didn't really care about the laws? Yeah, you got it, the shooter. Would you like to disarm all of America? Do you think those intent on doing harm will let that get in their way?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dmitri

    The 2nd only explicitly says people can have "arms" for a militia, and gives no other reason, not self-protection, sport, only a militia.

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

      Our gov't disagrees with you

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

      Get a brain and learn what the definition of "explicit" is. The 2nd explicitly says only militia, nothing else. The government doesn't disagree with this.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • WorkInProgress

      Except that our gov't has so far upheld the right for all citizens. Resorting to insults doesn't help your cause much.

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

      @WIP You mean Scalia's cowardly declaration "I'm not going to be the one to take away their guns"

      August 24, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. wakeup

    so this hits the news in 10 seconds.. but the bomb threats on the theatres was crickets....

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

    If only EVERYONE there had a gun! They couldve all gone out in a blaze of American GUN LOVING GLORY!!!

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