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. WakeUpUSA

    It's quite distressing that this is now happening so often in several parts of our nation and the world. These are the symptoms of a much greater problem. We still seem to be in denial. It's not just another crazy shooter. It's another person who lost it due to the social environment we have created: economy, wars, social welfare, family disjunction, unemployment, etc. Our country may be too busy taking care of other countries' problems and our house is burning. It's just a thought.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. bxgrrl

    Not all of them are white. Look up Colin Ferguson, LIRR shooter in the 1990s.

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

    Some NRA-backed, politician will probably say something dumb like, "Well...... if the entire city was armed, then they could just have had a shootout in a crowded area, and once the smoke clears, hopefully the bandit, uh.. I mean 'suspect', would've been taken out"

    Yayy, NRA. Hey btw.....been thinking..... how about a blood splatter as the official logo? Hmm? And the words 'NRA' will be in the middle of the blood splatter with (guess what?) ..... "no blood on it". Just like how you guys operate in real life.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. freelance

    Tea Party Patriot

    August 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. gator

    with guns?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. markefried

    Most murders in the US are committed with firearms. The majority of them with a handgun. You do the math.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. User

    NYC has the one strongest laws regarding guns in the nation....clearly those gun control laws aren't as effective as intended. Criminals will obtain guns illegally; restricting the use of guns through legislation is useless.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • MeanOldMan

      Banning guns in an isolated city is like trying to isolate drops of water in a lake.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. ReadingGenius

    Dear Tourists – Welcome to America, the home of gun violence and mass shootings. Don't you wish your country had weak gun control laws and the right to bear arms?

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

    Most likely a legal weapon. Why pay more for an illegal one?

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

    I don't think this is a 'story' because it's a shooting in NYC (which occurs everyday) – rather, it's a story because of how many were shot and 'where' they were shot – in front of a renowned building visited by people from all over the World! The gist of the story is to highlight the fact that if unsafe at such a venue from gun-toting lunatics then we are unsafe everywhere. This is NOT to demean the millions of gun owners who are responsible – but a discussion does need to take place on how to reduce the danger for the innocent bystanders who choose 'not' to carry a weapon. Those who are adamant about carrying, fine, that's your 'choice" – but on the other hand stop blasting those who don't carry a weapon! That's their choice as well. This needs to be talked about nationally.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • NYC

      Shootings occur EVERY day in NYC? Point us to that fact some where, it is one of the safest cities in the country 'per capita'. I've lived here A LOT of years and it is not common to see shootings or to have them on this scale.

      Now if you are talking about Chicago, you might have a point, but at least they are just criminals/trash killing each other.

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

      Ok Mark, lets ease up a little on Rayinnj. If you "read and comprehend" what he's saying then you understand that he is not saying this story is not news worthy but rather giving the true reason it's news worthy. As for me, I think he has a valid point.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • TomVIO

      Yes, but i agree with "NYC", shootings like this don't happen often in New York City. In fact, I don't remember the last time we had such a thing happen...

      August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • TomVIO

      Besides... This wasn't a random shooting like the one in Colorado. This was a specificly targeted shooting. The one person that was the main target got killed (I offer my condolences to friends and family of this victim) and the other 9 injured just happened to be there in the crossfire between the police and the gunman.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ColdBeerz

    Shame on the gunman, handguns are illegal in NYC.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      +10 LOL

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

      do you really think that a man killing people cares about the legality of guns in the city?

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

      If handguns are illegal in NYC, how did he happen to have one. I thought gun laws were supposed to stop this.

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

      Where did it say "handgun" in the story? Maybe reading comprehension is a bigger issue in the US than gun control.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Just saying

    if we could stop with all the greed and selflessness and maybe treat life as if it were worth more than the next dollar ,then maybe some of this stuff might not happen ,these people feel like they have nothing to lose anyway so why not.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      And fairies and mermaids exist. Money is a basic part of any society. Human nature is what it is and always has been. There is no higher order.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. ed

    obama will do ANYTHING to get guns banned. He got caught with Fast & Furious. Now he's using wackos here.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Joan

      oh pleeese, that's such a totally ridiculous statement, and I resent your impllications.

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

    USA!USA!USA!..we are number 1 stupid...lol

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

    I was under the impression that guns were highly restricted in places like New York and Chicago. When will bad guys learn to obey the law.........

    August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • nunya

      Doesn't mean the gunman can't bring the gun in from another state

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