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. Tom

    Was he a Right Wing Christian nut, an Islamic Fundamentalist nut, or just a plain old nut?

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

    For everyone who is talking about gun laws not being effective needs to realize you are talking about local law. Local law is meant to punish but it doesn't really effect the supply and availability of guns that are meant to kill. We need to have a federal dialogue about gun control. NYC's or any other states gun laws can only do so much to PREVENT these types of things because they don't effect the supply. They only punish offenders. We need a federal dialogue about gun control!

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

      Yes, a good dialog will keep criminals from getting a hold of guns.

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

      Would it make you feel any better if these people were pushed out of windows or run over by a delivery truck?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous129

      Totally agreed!

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

      That is bogus logic. You can't push 10 people out of a window. Also, it's much easier to take a life by pulling a trigger. Psychologically killing somebody with your bare hands is much tougher to do. We don't need to make mass killings any easier.

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

      "They only punish offenders."

      You're right, let's punish everyone!

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

      Can't agree with you more!

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

      65 million people own firearms and don't kill people. But of course those people don't matter. Let's punish the majority because of the actions of a tiny minority. This is the kind of country you want Mark.

      And what will you do about it when someone rents a delivery truck and plows through a farmers market? The reality is nobody who claims to be for gun control is really in favor of anything but a total ban on all firearms. As soon as someone gets a hold of a few revolvers in a bag and kills a few people with it then that will be it. Total and complete ban on all of them.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Julian

    What is going on in the US, it was never like this in the past. These mass shootings are becoming the new trend in America, it seems as though mass shootings are the new it for 2012

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

      Say hello to Barak Obama, better known as da Kingfish. He and his comic sidekick Andy (Biden) and his lawyer, Calhoun are really wrecking the country.

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

      Julian, sorry to point out, but shootings have been happening since guns were invented. Before guns it was done with knives and swords and prior to those such weapons, probably rocks. The media and the 'instant' updates we have available now because of technology are the things that make it seem as if it's a "fad" or more common place nowadays. Also, we've never had more people in the world.

      Just a reminder.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rahm

    19 people were shot in Chicago last night, 8 in a single incident. Did CNN have breaking news for that?

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

      CNN doesn't care about black people

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

      Yeah, but the gang-bangers make this a nighlty occurence in Chi Town. When it happens according to a schedule, it will not be breaking news.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • In the middle

      We only pay attention to mass shootings in places that are unexpected. Duh.

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

      Exactly.. my point.. very curious about these "reported" incidents recently.. especially when people are shot all over the country.. in multiples but we never hear about thsoe shootings.. NYC isn't immune and although we're approaching 9/11 doesn't mean knee jerk reactions need to occur.

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

      Amen. 13 shot in 30 minutes on the south side.

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

      if a tree falls in the woods...

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

      thats cuz no one cares about chicago

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

      That is truly horrible! It speaks to it not being "Breaking News" since the high numbers of Chicago dead has become an everyday reality there.

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

      OMGosh... How is that possible? It's not legal to carry a handgun in Chicago, and very difficult in NYC. When will criminals start respecting these "Gun Free Zones" and attack people who have a chance to save their own lives?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • daradv

      I agree with Zelli.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      No, because Chicago is another gun-free utopia.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. shamus o'tool

    The reason CNN didn't report 19 people shot in Chicago is because this incident is a selfish act of violence with no intended target except random people. The Chicago shootings were gang related, and come on let them sort it out themselves, do you really care who controls what corner for their illegal enterprise?

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

      yes it might effect there penny stock value

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

      Really? 509 chicago students were shot in an 18 month period. These are kids, not a label. Some were as young as 9.

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

      How about when they want to come in and control YOUR corner?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. duh

    The city's dramatic drop in crime has been attributed by criminologists to policing tactics, the end of the crack epidemic and the results of legalized abortion approximately 18 years previous

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

      Freakonomics 101 – NYC drop in crime rate may not be attributed to better law enforcement, but instead, legalization of abortion and the decrease in mothers not willing to care for their "accidental" children.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • katolungile

      That is true... Most people that have abortions would usually be w/ a lesser element. Thus producing lesser element kids who would be more susceptible to committing extra crimes...

      August 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis D

      The reason is less complicated. RUDY GUILIANI brought crime down

      August 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. crazeelegs

    These incidents bring out the worst in commenters. No sensitivity, respect or thoughtful comments. Only jokesters who like to laugh at their own silly, out of place, stupid comments. You are not being clever or cute. You just hide behind your keyboard and say things that would get you hitting the ground, or worse, if you dared to say them to a person's face. We wonder why people have become desensitized to killing another human. There is no hope for America..not because of any politician, but because of Americans themselves.

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

      Your problem, Crazy, is that you are not smart enough to see where the heart of the problem lies. You must be a lib ??????

      August 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    This couldn't have possibly happened since New York is such a peaceful, gun-free haven! Thanks, Bloomberg!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. thetoad30

    I'm sorry, can you explain your logic? Is a ban not the same as having them be illegal? So now someone who knowingly violates the law, violates it again with murder. Yet that's not illegal enough for you? Is this not the perfect scenario of "if you ban guns only bad guys have guns"? Are you seriously that blind to it?

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

      If a consertative doesn't like guns, he doessn't buy one.
      If a liberal doesn"t like guns, he wants to ban them for everyone.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jasi

      That is so right! Locks on most doors are only there to keep honest people honest. Any fool can break in through a window.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. jai

    At this rate soon guns will be banned, How long Moron like NRA justify this killing.
    NRA is more dangerous then OSAMA, Gun kill more people the 9/11 didA

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

      Drugs kill more people than guns and they are illegal and regulated by the federal government. How's that working out for you?

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

      Good thing the internet has no idiot buffers, You would be using a pencil and paper if they did.

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

      People with evil minds kill people, it is not the gun it is the holder. Look a Mexico, gun control and only corrupt government and cartels have guns. Taking away guns from the mass majoity would only make us slaves of the government which what they want. A socialist government.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      People kill people. The method is the variable. And before you say that only guns are used in mass murders, I suggest you look up the machete murders in South America and Africa and the mass murder of 5 people in China by one man with a knife.

      Ever notice that ALL of these mass murders are committed in places where the shooter has the best chance of NOT encountering anyone else with a gun? Yea, disarm everyone and then only the criminals will have them. How is that working out in the African countries where the UN disarmed the people and now there are mass murders every day by "government" troops?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  11. Roalling

    Another win for Bloomberg and his Facist gun-control policies. If you are ever in NYC, don't count on a bystander to save you. You minus well just get on your knees.

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

      Colorado has concealed carry laws–some of the most open in the nation. Why didn't anyone there shoot back?

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

      He could have gone on for an indefinite time because the accessibility of weapons dwarfs in comparison to the underlying lack of social cohesion in America that really generates these incidents.

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

      The police killed the suspect. The system worked as far as that is concerned. Do we really want the solution to be other bystanders shooting up the scene to save the day? Seriously?

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

      Yes, because there are just SOOOO many examples of the bystander jumping in with his/her gun to save the day. Just so many. Talk about a baseless argument.

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

      You sir are an idiot

      August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Because most establishments ban concealed weapons! Colorado law allows establishments to ban ALL weapons. The two theaters I have gone to have signs out front prohibiting firearms inside. How well did that work in Aurora?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. John

    More notches in the grip for the NRA! Hope they are proud of themselves!!!

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

      I strongly doubt the shooter was a member of the NRA, but we'll see. Most likely an Obamunist, or someone from Obama's unemployment line.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Why don't you try some actual critical thinking. Haven't you noticed yet that ALL of the mass shootings occur in areas where the shooter is unlikely to encounter anyone else with a gun??? ALL OF THEM! And when you disarm the law abiding citizens, who will be there to protect them from the criminal element (whos ranks will surely swell)? The Police??? Yea, right.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. Zelli

    People are being pushed to the brink, the economy is not great for many, food costs are high, housing costs are high, unemployement has run out for many ... the news can spin it 10 ways but sideways but the truth is the economy is hurting people and their mental states can do little more than suffer. This country needs to focus on its priorities... let other countries deal with their affairs.. focus a lot of that money that goes outside on INSIDE causes like better mental services which for the poor is non-existent...unless you commit a crime..

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

      Then why has these kinds of things been happening since the dawn of time? Starting with rocks, then spears, knives, swords and now guns. Someday it'll still be happening with laser guns. This has nothing to do with people being pushed to the brink. There are messed up people out there that do this. People kill people. The economy nor guns kill people.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. CMO

    an inordinate amount of random shootings right before election time...

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

      Yea just when Obama is trying to get the UN treaty on arms control passed in the Senate to allow the UN to dictate to US that we have to gut the 2nd Amendment and allow UN troops on our soil to help carry it out!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. My Eyes

    Small economic depression + unemployed people with no future + inadequate mental health services + wide accessibility of guns + media elevating serial killers to the level of celebrity = a widespread Charlie Foxtrot

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

      Um, the Batman killer in Colorado was hardly what I would call a bum. This runs deeper than the economy.

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