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. bdfd

    only 5? non news. move on.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. stranger one

    This is sad, we are fighting wars at every front there is. Now we have our own civilians killing each other, someone hit the world's reset button.

    Now all we will see is the media feed on this and twist the story as they see will sell the most views. The government will take full advantage of this with the elections and will be talking about the right to carry weapons, etc, etc, etc.

    Just reset the planet, our civlization is going backwards.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jack the Ripper

    Another week, another shooting. 'Murika! The land of freedom and happiness!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. lo

    Even public discourse is full of violence. I wouldn't be surprised if that judge said recently about a civil war if Obama is re-elected spurred this event. Remember April Gifford, and Palin's violent rhetoric.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • tkro

      I guess you thumb-sucking liberals can't get even one thing right. Her name is Gabrielle, not April. The shooter was a young left-leaning junior college dropout whose family knew Gabby through their synagogue. The shooting had nothing to do with Sarah Palin.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. WhaaT

    A new nut everyday!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      They're not new nuts, they've always been nuts. Just happened that this nut snapped today.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lew

    NYC = by far the strictest gun control laws in the country. Clearly gun control does NOT work. Crazy people will find a way to strike out no matter what "laws" are in place. Wake up people, gun control is the government's way of stripping away our rights.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Canuck

      What right would that be. The right to stand on a street and be shot to death.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Pat

    How could this happened. New York is one of the strictest states in the nation with regards to the purchase, possession and carrying of handguns!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • West

      Because gun-control is ineffective. A crazed individual wanting to commit murder does not really care if it is illegal to have an unlicensed handgun in NYC. The law abiding citizens people heading to work in NYC, they care about following the law. Sadly for them, the law says they can't defend themselves.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Canuck

      But in other Ameican places they give guns away as prizes in boxes of breakfast cereal. Gun contol will only be effectve as a national strategy.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sigh

    Whenever the gun debate starts, I often think- how many of my co-workers would I feel good about knowing they were carrying a concealed weapon? Answer: None.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      Find a better job...

      August 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. greg

    Pat – Move to Sweden where they have gun control.... oh wait, massacres happen there too. I don't get it? Why don't the criminals ever follow the gun laws.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      I know, I was being sarcastic.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Fraser

      I think you mean Norway and Finland, there have been recent attacks in those countries but not Sweden !

      August 24, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. Don

    Repeal the Second Amendment. No more guns in private hands.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      Kind of like the war on drugs keeping all the drugs out of the US. That seems to be working well huh?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Lew

      Don, for all intents and purposes the 2nd Amendment IS repealed in NYC. It is illegal for private "hands" to have guns in NYC. That worked well didn't it?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • West

      Already "ignored" in NYC. Proof is in the pudding. It doesn't work.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick O'Shea

      Does that mean the BATFE can still send illegal firearms across the Mexican border?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kurtinco

    And begin the stunningly ignorant comments because we all know that everything would have been better if everyone was armed, right? Hey everyone, shootout at the Empire State. Whoopie!!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Speaking of ignorance NYC (as its been stated many times) has some f the strictest guns laws around.. and yet this happen. In short..you are a moron.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. SDDD

    what is happening.. God save the country

    August 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      This has been happening forever and a day. Pick up a history book and read it sometime would you?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @ SDDD
      For the record your Bible doesn’t count as a history book.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That cheap shot was uncalled for Tom.

      And if you think the current text books that are handed out by teachers are an accurate representation of history then I've got some lovely beachfront property to sell you in Kansas....

      August 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Katrina Lee

    The world is not going to end because of a zombie apocalypse, or the silly rapture. Global warming isn't going to sweep us away, and aliens aren't going to take over. It's going to end because we are all going to f***ing kill each other. Pointless shooting rampages directed at innocent people for intolerant reasons.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Katrina Lee

      Every other week this is what's on the news.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh please… such a drama queen. We’ve been killing each other since the dawn of human history.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. Me

    Right because banning legal guns will solve the problem... of wait, they ARE illegal in NYC! There goes to show you that the mayor does not know squat of what he says...

    August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Antonio

      Yes, and having more guns always is the answer. We have 1 gun per person in the USA, and lead the world in these types of shootings. For brilliant gun owning hicks like you, there is a direct correlation.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ryan

    You gun commentors are idiots.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
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