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. MyFeelsMatter

    19 people were shot yesterday in Chicago. CNN didn't mention it. Wonder why.

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

      blacks kill`n blacks, nothing to see here folks, move on.

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

    This really does suck, Im really feel bad for these people. imagine it could be someone you know.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. irock

    I thought you had to check your guns at the border going into new york. I guess those bad guy`s just dont listen. Good thing they are a police state, With unarmed citizens that guy could have gone on for a long time.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. ClassyCanada

    Americans and their guns

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

      http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/24/world/europe/norway-breivik-trial/index.html

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

      Thats real respectful of the dead. Your mother would be proud.

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

      Really ClassyCanada – that's the best you've got? Nobody shoots anyone in your country – From your Eaton Centre Shooting in Toronto to a neighborhood BBQ shooting only recently in the same city??? Just wondering if maybe you conveniently missed those?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Of course, things like this have NEVER happened in Canada.

      Shell Lake Murders: 9 killed
      Bandidos murders: 8 killed
      Marc Lepine: 14 women gunned down
      Denis Lortie: three killed

      August 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jon

    Let's live like we were in the wild wild west and everyone carried a gun. Someone has a bad day and boom! Chaos in the streets everyday. Road rage shootings, shootings in restaurants because they got the wrong bowl of soup, boss gets shot because he ticked you off. Gangsters carry guns and they shoot people everyday just because you looked at them wrong. Honestly the NRA has to remember that not everyone should carry a gun because there are a lot of unstable minds out there that cannot be responsible with owning a gun.

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

      Well said.

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

      What a load of Hollywood cr@p. Actual murders in the old west were a rare thing compared to gang activity today.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jessica

    How many of these news stories do we have to read before people start talking about honest-to-God gun control. Screw Charlton Heston, we have to do something to make it harder for these whackjobs to get their hands on guns.

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

      Totally agree!!!!

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

      A compelling argument, to be sure. Unfortunately, it won't be heard above the clanging of NRA loose change.

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

      I agree. There is nothing wrong with gun control. If crazy people couldn't get guns, crazy people couldn't shoot people.

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

      It is almost impossible to get a license to own a gun in New York City. All of the "gun control" measures seek to limit the rights of those who would seek to buy a firearm legally. They don't keep guns out of the hands of criminals. We need a new approach.

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

      As soon as you can GUARANTEE that a criminal with a gun cannot harm me or my family and that same criminal has NO access to a gun, I will go along with you. Until that time, bugger off. In many modern case where a population was disarmed, mass murders of the public has occurred and usually by the Governments!

      August 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      How many more news stories do we need to read about the epidemic of heart disease, nervous disorders, death, etc before we outlaw dangerous PRESCRIPTION drugs? How many more women have to suffer and die from breast cancer before the American Cancer Society publishes the FACT that small supplementation with selenium has been proven to prevent over 80% of breast cancers? When will there be a Race for the Prevention??? When will texting and driving be OUTLAWED everywhere? ALL of these thing kill many more people annually than crazies with guns.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nicole D Lawson

    My prayers are with all who are effected.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. WomenOnGuard

    And politicians say nothing... They are all afraid of the NRA. I don't know about you, but I see a problem here when an organization can control our government.

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

      So, you think that PACs having control of politicians is bad? Then outlaw ALL of them, not just the ones you don't like! I got some news for you: there are PACS for EVERY ideology out there and they ALL have influence on our lawmakers. Perhaps you like the fact that Monsanto has more power over your daily life than your elected representatives?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. maryann o'toole

    What is going on in this world. You can no longer play in a park, nor can you go to work without someone with a gun, ready, willing a able to shoot you without any rhyme or reason. I think we need gun control, and now. I think the major problem is there are no jobs, no money to attend schools, no money for fun things. This is the most terrible time I can remember in my 61 years of living. I never heard such things. Mother's decapitating their children. Toddlers being robbed of their jewerly by adult people, shooting someone over selling water. I think we all need to gather at our places of worship and ask whatever you believe in to help in these terrible times.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jim Cain

    Isnt that the truth!! 🙂

    August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. 2StuPid

    White Republican, Obama Hatter at it again.......Its in their Blood....Just wait and see who did it.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. BarringtonLegend

    The social unrest in our society is at an all-time high nowadays. We justify all these incidents by saying that it was "just another nut job coming out of the woods" but thats simply not true. This man up until about an hour or 2 ago was probably someone that you would hang out with or invite to a barbeque. He didnt escape from some New York insane assylum, something happened to him that MADE HIM SNAP. I am willing to bet that he was either fired from there with no pension after working there for 30 years or his wife was screwing someone in the building, etc, etc. Either way, his choice was to go out in a blaze and its probably the most notable thing that he has ever done with his life.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  13. PantyRaid

    CNN is controlling your thoughts.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • voice of reason

      all mass media does, but CNN seems to suck in a big way

      August 24, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • saneCanadian

      Again??

      August 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • billjones

      OK Alex Jones.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • FoolKiller

      No. They are TRYING to control them really hard... they just aren't very good at it.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heime

      NO!!!! Get out of my mind, CNN!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mm

    A gun in every psycho's_hands....thanks for nothing NRA & Republicans.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. wassupUSA

    How long until Brian Ross tries to blame this on the Tea Party.

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