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. bxgrrl

    Would you care to explain just how that is so? Or do you just want to spout off? Right wing freak.

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

    Just another upstanding US taxpayer excercising his 2nd Amendment rights...Is this what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote it?

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

      Why do you assume he actually pays 'taxes', since half the country does not pay US Income taxes. But that is another topic. I believe the founding fathers had in mind that we are allowed to have guns, so that if a lunatic is running down a street shooting people, ONE of the many people who are legally armed could shoot them before he/she takes the life of 9 people.

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

      What the Founding Fathers had in mind was for citizens to be able to protect themselves from loonies like that guy. If everyone carried a handgun I think the likelihood of these displays of violence would diminish. Why would one fire into a crowd knowing most of them had a weapon? Everyone in Texas carries a gun and you don't hear these types of massacres occurring there on a monthly basis. I"m not sure what the answer is, but banning anything certainly does not and has not worked in the past.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Logic

      2nd amendment, in no way, at any time, under any interpretation, grants a right to murder with a firearm or fire it indiscriminately at people who mean one no harm.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sam

    they need to say what race this person was.

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

      Probably the 'usual'.....if u know what i mean....

      August 24, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • TomVIO

      White old man = Grumpy old troll...

      August 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kevin

    @Christina..I don't believe stronger gun laws will stop this. Those that get the license and proper training to carry a gun aren't the ones killing people. Its those that obtain guns illegally that do it.

    You do realize that the Dark knight shooter obtained his guns and ammo legally. Moron

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

      1 out of ten thousand shootings by someone who obtained guns legally, stop the madness!!!!!

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

    Let create a fund for the Empire State Building.

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

    @Bxgrrl No we can not talk about gun control now...Until the ban manufacturing, sale and possession of any and all firearms including police and government is what is being discussed then no no discussion.

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

      We humans are not mature enough for that. We are always invading other tribes and stealing their crap.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jane

    Why isn't there more gun contro is this country

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

    I guess the shooter didn't know that NYC has strict gun laws. If he did he would have never done this.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joseph Blowseph

    I would feel safer with a brown person on an airplane than with a white person in a public place. Gun-toting psychos!

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

      That is straight-up disgustingly racist. Replace white with any other race and read it again. Tell me it wouldn't be offensive. Why is it okay to use language like this when it's directed at whites?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. matt

    yet it is conservatives that stock up on guns, and want zero gun control. how interesting

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

    I am from India- in USA for a temporary business purpose..and shocked to see innocent citizens killed like this every week. In India, gun laws are very strict and such shootings rarely..very rarely happen. And we are a third world country not comparable to US in terms of might and prosperity. Yet, I have very rarely come across any citizen randomly and mindlessly attacking fellow citizens- total stranger- just like that in my country. On the contrary, people unite and help strangers in times of any natural calamities or terrorist attacks from across the border. I will be back home once I complete my work in US (in 1-2 months) and just want to urge the sensible people in US to do two things- make stricter gun laws and restore culture of social & family bonds and a sense of belonging to a good and caring community- so that your people don't shoot their own country-men.

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

      Listen JD.....agree with your comments in general, but wish India would fix all their many many problems which cause death to the masses;
      there are no gun issues but the "British and their control-points/local Maharajas and appointees" have been replaced by the 1% of the population who do NOTHING for the rest of the 99% & in fact "shoot" and hurt the 60% poor by treating them like slaves.....in addition nothing is done with pollution, filth, etc. which further "shoots" the population....so you guys don't need guns!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Joan

      good comments, but way easier said than done. Gun control issue is very complicated here. A thriving business that is partially why it is so difficult to control and change. Plus the whole cultural cowboy, amercian independence history. What we need is to change our culture a little, so it is less based on greed and material wealth. Then people would have a different focus on their life and not become so enraged and go off and kill others.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. rebiii

    International tourists were screaming? Didn't anybody tell them that any nincompoop can get a gun in the U.S. and start shooting? Welcome to America!

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

      Everyone can get cars too which doesn't make all drivers bad people, listen to your ridiculous logic.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Chappy

      England's statistics got "manipulated" when ithe facts came to light, They are not lower. Keep reading.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  13. Smitkr76

    Does anyone know if this was terrorist related? I'm hearing mixed reviews...

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

      No, someone who worked there...

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

      Are these people any more or less dead or injured if it was a terrorist?

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

      Workplace violence much the the Fort Hood shooter sep different............

      August 24, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  14. matt

    another day, another mass shooting in america. nothing new anymore

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

      It's sad, Americans make jokes of it all the time because it is just everyday life here in America. We have forgot just how awful it is to lose precious life.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • dnarich

      Sadly, this is exactly what I too would have written. In our country, we have come to the point where this is no longer "news", but rather has become a commonplace occurence. Gun ownership and gun use are glorified, extreme views and "my or the highway" mentality dominates, there is no longer consideration for others or other's perspectives.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. sp2011

    was he white american , middle eastern muslim or somebody else ? These things seem to matter these days.

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