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. Dave

    If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

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

      Works ok for other countries.

      It isn't perfect, but I believe the USA is leading in the mass shooting category right now, so something needs to change.

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

      And if forks are outlawed, only outlaws will have forks. Pretty profound, isn't it?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. bigdaddyd

    Must have been thouse tea party people, aint that right cnn

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

    plain and simple you can not legislate morality. laws passed will not all of the sudden enlighten a criminal as to their wrong doing. this is a moral compass issue, and quite frankly we as a nation are heading in the wrong direction. we have abandoned our beliefs, walked away from our convictions, turned to a selfish life of idolatry. we need Jesus!!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. mordrud

    To all those frightened masses screaming for gun control you needed live in fear. There IS an answer. Move. Go to Russia or China. I promise you, you will be safe there. You will be MUCH happier. No one is stopping you. Use the great American prerogative and vote with your feet. To hell with this gun crazy country! Hell you don't even have to go that far. Move to Mexico. I hear it's great there. No guns. except those that our ATF agents are hocking....

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    This is the product of a life apart from God. When you are a just a product of random mutations over long perios of time. Why should you care?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. satyrikon

    Reblogged this on ΝΕΑ ΧΩΡΙΣ ΦΙΛΤΡΟ ΦΕΛΛΟΥ.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. Amy

    Please pray for my family.. My cousin lives near there and works in Empire State Building.. at Linkedin. I can't get in touch with cousin.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. Alex V

    ...and you must be black?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. tehgreengrass

    YAY LETS LET PEOPLE HAVE GUNS FOREVER! I LOVE AMERICA 😀

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • US Ministry of Defense

      It has nothing to do with the people's right to own a gun. In other words, it's not the gun/arm that's the issue, it's people. Or did the gun/rifle got up in the morning by itself and started to shoot. If you have another argument about the arm being legal, etc. how do you know if the person didn't buy it off the street/black market?

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

    I read the article... on more than one website, and what I find are comment sections filled with NRA gun activists putting down anything that is against guns. All I have to say is that if there were no guns, there would be no shootings by crazy people. I agree, guns don't kill people... crazy people kill people. We need to keep them from being able to get guns.

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

      Automatic weapons serve no useful purpose, I agree. However, as the economy worsens.... and it will... more home breakins, rise in homicides, and a lot of frustrated people due to loss of jobs, income, houses, bank accounts, stock failures.. and the like, will cause VIOLENT behavior patterns like we've not seen before. My answer is to PRAY, and always keep a gun handy.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. axel

    What do you propose I do when my house is being robbed by armed thugs? Call the police in front of the burglar? Run away and pray I'm faster? Invite him for a cup of tea?
    Some of us live in an area where the police (local and state) take a long time to arrive, if at all; law enforcement in this country is great in most areas but not perfect.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Ol' Yeller

      Why don't you get in your car and run over them... according to the righties on here cars are millions of times more dangerous than guns.
      I don't own anything worth killing over. I don't possess anything worth dying over.
      P.S. I live in one of the areas you are talking about. I own guns. I believe in the right to use a gun to protect myself. I don't beleive in the right of everyone to carry any weapons anywhere they want to for any reason.
      Wyatt Earrp created the first gun control in America... not to protect against criminals, but to protect citizens from drunken cowpokes shooting up the town out of boredom.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  12. Gerry

    sucks to be them

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ben

    Guns don't kill people, NRA does.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Full timer

    I'd rather see him shot dead on the spot ... than to watch all the pre-trial, trial, post-trial crap on TV for the next year or so!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. Right to bear Arms

    There is NO WAY this is a true story because its against the law in New York for ANYONE to own or carry any guns !!!! Oh wait the bad guys don't care and can shot up the place with out worrying about the "Law Abiding" citizens shotting back at him !! Hope you are happy you Liberal New Yorkers ! HA HA HA

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

      That is obnoxious, innocent people were harmed and one killed. This has nothing to do with the current controversy going on gun laws so to make a tragedy into a low blow at a "liberal state" is in poor taste. It also shows the lack of consideration for another’s life our society has. Stop being naïve, if you want to fight for your right to bear arms do so in a constructive way, not in an uneducated comment.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
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