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.

• Are you there? Share your story

• 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. John D

    I would suspect that the perp had weapons in violation of applicable laws, and because of those same laws, there was no bystander intervention. Laws do NOT take guns off the street and out of the hands of criminals. They take them out of the hands of the good guys.

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

      And where were all those bystanders to protect the people in Colorado where the gun laws are lax? Or in past Texas shootings etc...

      Just what we would have needed- 10 others shooting on a street at eachother with 100,000 nyc bystanders all around. Idiot.

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

      And just who are the "good guys?"

      August 24, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Gun Toter?

      BZ... You're woefully uninformed.. in Aurora Colorado it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon. How lax is that? And truth be told the bystanders were probably hit in the barrage of police gunfire.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • BB

      Would you feel differently about gun control if you lost a loved one to this type of crime, or if you yourself were injured?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Common sense

      Gun toter is correct. Look up the laws. He went into a theater that was gun free too. If I carry open carry style into the theater, I've just throw 20.00 into the trash, I will be asked to leave and if I don't, I go to jail for trespassing. If I conceal carry, I've broken the law. If I were conceal carrying and killed the shooter, I'm now facing murder charges.

      In Indiana, we seen a drop in violent crime each time we lifted anti-second amendment bans/regulations. Not an increase like some would like you to believe. Look at areas where the handgun bans were thrown out. Less crime, not more. If we could live in a world without handguns, neat. I'm a large man with a quick fist. What about my 5'1" 110 lbs wife though? You keep your silly ideas to your self and don't own a firearm. When you're in trouble and seconds count, call 911 and hope for the best.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. JB

    It is amazing to me that people are on here commenting on America's fun laws and are turning this into a political forum. Did anyone read the headline that 10 people were shot? 10 lives. Maybe there's more to focus on here...

    I work around the corner from the ESB and it's very scary to think this happened so close.

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

      GUN laws...not fun laws. Guns are not fun.

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

      JB... I work around the area as well and I agree, it is very scary to know that anytime some wacko will just start pulling the trigger. However, thank god not all 10 people were shot to death. It could've been a lot worse.

      I feel for the victims' families and friends. I give my condolences to them.

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

      The reason this has become political, is because people are neither blind, nor stupid. There's more to the recent violent activity than a bunch of unstable foaming-at-the-mouth mad-men. There's an objective here. It's pretty obvious. Ever heard of the manchurian candidate?

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

      stroud... we don't have more crime than we did before. NYC is one of the most populous cities in the world and it is not possible to not have any crime here. Actually considering the population and the size of this city, crime here is very low.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. thaly

    IT"S AMAZING HOW THIS WORLD . GOS PROTECT US

    August 24, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sandy

    This country spends a lot of money to protect us against foreign terrorists. Yet, we have more of our own citizens killing us and we do nothing to to protect us from them. In this country it seems that our 'well regulated militia' is run by the NRA and not the government.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Gun Toter?

      Self protection on a personal scale is individual responsibility. What do you propse we each have a personal cop looking after us at all times?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. Pinolero

    Dang it! God fearing gun advocates were not near the building to rush in and help defend these unarmed victims. That's why we need to expand gun laws to allow folks to carry concealed weapons so they can help whenever someone decides to unload a clip on innocent people!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Gun Toter?

      We don't know who shot the other victims. There were lot of police gunfire... Though not as if it would ever be reported if the uninvolved victims were shot by cops...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. TomVIO

    Gun control should not only be a ban to posses a gun, but it should be a control of where the guns are and who can get them. GUNs should belong only to POLICE or MILITARY, and instead of trying to find someone smoking a joint (weed) which will not do any harm to anyone, police should focus more on illegal gun sales.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Zelli

    Are NYC citizens allowed to have tazers? ... I'm guessing probably not.. Also, concealed handgun laws of which I am a HUGE proponent only work if people actually have them and then carry. Many places and possibly the theatre do not allow concealed handguns... I only know a handful of people here in Texas that have one and most people don't bother.

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

    Maybe gun control is a bit too easy of an answer, especially in a city where guns are pretty much completely forbidden by law already. Allowing the unarmed guard that chased the suspect away to carry a weapon might just have been a better answer, even a deterrent. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones.

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

      True... the guard should've been given a gun or at least put a Police officer rather than a guard next to one of the most popular buildings in the world.

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

    Tiem to run out and buy more guns before you can't legally.

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

    Well looky looky how well gun control worked here in the Empire State. 10 shot before anyone could respond. Yeah I feel MUCH safer being disarmed... NOT. I wonder how Bloomingidiot is going to spin this tragedy.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Haha

    You're jumping to conclusions that he obtained this firearm legally. You don't know that, so stop jumping all over the legal methods of obtaining a firearm. Wait to see what the facts say.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. John Ross

    1) guy is clearly a liberal. conservatives are better shots. and it is a co-worker dispute....so its a work place violence like major nadal in fort hood.
    2) 19 people were shot in Chicago...last night. cricket noises from the media. Rahm is on it though, he said don't shoot the kids...I guess it is ok to shoot everyone else..just don't shoot the kids.
    3) Maybe the guy was on edge, no cigarettes, no trans fats, no salt, popcorn under attack and then the big gulp is taken away....he snapped.
    4) NYC has some of the toughest gun laws in the country – bloomberg said the cops should go on strike until people turn in all the guns. Think this guy would have turned his in?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Maria

    Guns. Guns. Guns. We love our guns. Stay tune, more shootings and more killings to come.

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

      But I thought that guns were outlawed in NYC. Oh....I see your point. Guns should be outlawed everywhere. Then there wouldn't be any more shootings...........just multiple stabbings for you to rant about.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. wildone

    I don't know how this is possible. I thought Mayor Nanny took away all the guns. Oh, apparently he didn't get the ones that the criminals have, just the ones that the law-abiding citizens had.

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

      Who said this guy way a criminal? Probably just another idiot who bought a gun, and has a mentality that tells him to solve problems with a weapon rather than using his brain. Every gun owners wet dream is to be able to play hero and shoot a bad guy. I still haven't seen those "responsible" gun owners come to the rescue in situations like this. Your point is worthless.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. kris

    I think everyone should be required to own a gun, so we can shoot morons

    August 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • AverageJoe76

      We should also let every nation on Earth have ICBMs. Works for the small equation, should work for the big one too, right?

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

      The target on your back is pretty large and obvious.

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