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. Mark

    Americans sure love violence!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cassarit

    I can only think of one good reason for someone doing this:
    Annoying Bloomberg.

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

      Bloomburg is happy now he can push for gun control to disarm the law abiding everywhere not just in the city.

      You do understand he made it a law no guns in NY and this criminal is the only one who had a gun right?

      The law abiding types were defenseless. Bloomburg is to blame that so many go shot before they could put this criminal down.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. CSX

    O BA MA O BA MA O BA MA

    August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. bj412

    Minding your own business, on your way to work one moment, and your life is changed forever the next minute because of a nut with a gun. The sad thing is it is becoming more and more commonplace in America.

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

      Its because they want the attention! Same with gay children and committing suicide was the "in" thing last year, now its all about shooting rampages. People are desperate sheep. There was also a time when school shootings were the thing to do for local nut jobs. Its pathetic.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. No guns please

    A complete blanket ban on guns should be implemented in this country to stop the menace. There is no difference between this country and other parts of world where people are killing each other. And its understandable that those people are uncivilized but US is considered to be the most civilized and sophisticated place on earth. God bless America before it becomes place for such extremists. (Peace brother and sisters for those whose sentiments have been hurt!)

    August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. Colorless crimes

    NYC is so busy confiscating guns from black men, leaving white men to continue their campaign of domestic terrorism here in the U.S. by assaulting our country and taking the lives of our innocent civilians.

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

      Oh please!!! Way to try and make this a racial issue. Everyone knows blacks commit the most crimes. Whites make up 80% of the US population and you have 3 shootings right now in the last few months. Then blacks, who make up very little of the population, yet 1 out of every 2 of you ends up in prison. That is why police watch you, because stats show you commit the most crimes (even for a minority group). Deal with it or change your behavior.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. thaly

    it's amazing how this world . Gos protect us

    August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. britney k

    I blame the Republicans. Seriously, they all want everyone to carry guns, even to church.

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

      The shooter likes the gun ban so his victims will all be defenseless and he can kill a bunch before the cops show up.
      Only criminals have guns in New York not the regular law abiding types so they all get shot like fish in a tank.

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

      if the good people carried guns the bad people would think twice before using theirs!!! guns don't kill people, people kill people!!!

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

    The NRA is America's single greatest internal enemy. The government should root out these traitors and treat them in accordance to the threat level they present. Every gun nut supporter has the blood of these innocents in their hands. Don't kid yourself NRA, you are guilty of the murder of innocent people. You ought to answer for it.

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

      If everybody had a gun they would have shot him after he shot the first person and only one or two would have been hurt. Instead nobody had any defense so he emptied his weapon.
      He evidently knew guns are banned in N York so everybody would be defenseless except him.

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

    Yes, because we all know that criminals obey the law, and making guns illegal will totally prevent the criminals from getting them.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. MondoChron

    Yeah because heroin, cocaine, meth, LSD, etc are illegal and those aren't anywhere. Solid logic.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sheri Lee

    We know GUNS just don't kill people. But people that use them do, and Guns seem to be the weapon of Choice. GOPers seem to believe the more people who have guns the safer we will be. This also means just more crazy people will have them as well. We will continue to have mass shootings, until somehow we can figure out, how to solve this social problem. But the question is how?? Without the Gov. stepping away and taken guns away. Because that will not solve the problem either.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ziggy

    It's quite strange that there are more reportings on these kind of incedents in the liberal media at the same time the radical left dems are pushing for more gun control . Now we know the obvious that some of the media is trying to help push this corrupt administrations radical left agenda .

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

      Really? What "radical left" gun control measures have been passed or even voted on in recent months?

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

      I couldn't agree more. It is always lets change the second amendment.
      I want the first amendment changed to control the media!
      Have you seen "crush videos" – lets change the first amendment!
      It is not on the table people!

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

      Or that 10 people were shot outside of NY's biggest landmark and that's kinda...you know...newsworthy

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

    I have been an orthopaedic trauma surgeon for 14 years and witnessed and cared for some of the worst trauma imaginable. However, I now wonder outloud when the disucssion of gun control will finally move to the forefront. Certainly, I can't believe that our forefathers wanted every unstable individual to bear not just arms, but assualt weapons to boot. I understand the phrase that "guns don't kill people, people do" but although we cannot regulate all the unstable nutcases in this world, we can at least regulate their ability to obtain access to firearms legally. Our society has become almost like Irag's Green Zone, where a part of every day will soon require wearing kevlar and packing our concealed weapons on the way to work. From someone who takes care of this mess, it seems like madness.

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

      well said!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. D J

    Yep. Lets keep selling ak47s and other similar guns to people. It will definitely lead to less gun violence. You must send "thank you" cards and letters to the Republican politicians.

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