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. Red

    People are to immature to own guns, if you can't control your emotions, you shouldn't have a gun...

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

      Who's going to be the one to monitor mental stubility? You can have gun control all day long, but can we have metal stubility control??? Don't think so...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. INFOWARS

    Just like the Colorado shooting and the Wisconsin shooting, this could be staged to blame the 2nd amendment.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • como1

      Not at all like Colorado. This started as a grudge killing with a sawed off shootgun as the weapon of choice. No body armor, no real prior planning. Get your stories right.

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

      Obama has approached guns the same way Regan did, there's no need to "stage" anything as the 2nd amendment is in no danger of going anywhere.

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

      More like the lack of 2nd Amendment rights allowed to the people of NYC. Again the shooter knew that the people would ALL be disarmed due to the laws in place. Gun control will NEVER stop a criminal but an armed citizenry at a minimum may have deterred or reduced the casualties. When will people understand that? I have lived in Florida and carried and it has saved my life as well as that of my families TWICE.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Skibo2000

      No, impossible. How could somebody link yet another mass shooting to the national law that is interpreted to allow U.S. citizens to own most types of weapons. Yeah, I don't see this happening.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      God I hate it when the tin foil hat people come out to play and talk about absurd conspiracies. Next you'll talk about 9/11 being the product of the US government...

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

      Congrats – you truly win the Imbecile of the Year award. Well played.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • John C from Long Island

      You are simply an idiot to post that- either you're a stupid troll with no life and a real mean streak or you are so filled with fear the "OBAMA'S COMIN' TA GIT MAH GUNS' that you've lost all touch with reality- either way, please never, ever breed and please do spend the rest of your days in your basement fallout shelter awaiting the rapture. Sincere prayers and symathy to the victims and thier families.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • badguy

      so let me get this straight: someone STAGED this? That means the shooter just wanted to expose the problems with the second amendment so he decided to arm up and go kill some people and get killed in the process? You know it could be just the he was mentally deranged and not thinking of any political motives.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rick

    Good thing guns are banned in NYC. Someone forgot to tell the bad guys.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • webknight18

      Do u think guns used in shootings in New York are bought in New york?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • cyberhackster

      Yep - That gun control really works, huh? - Nanny Bloomberg idiot will probably require all ammo sold in NYC be rubber bullets...For health reasons

      August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Lets not rule out a so called GOOD guy that had a bad day so fast.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • DisugstedNY

      Hey Dummy imagine how many guns there would be if there were no laws

      August 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. duh

    Fact is they are not more frequent. The US experiences more than 20 mass shootings a year. The tally will continue through the year. Facts are key.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. VC

    Definitely not hate crime. It is terrorism for sure. We got to attack someone country soon.

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

      Good one

      August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. mike

    Ever been to the projects?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. bella

    Look what they're doing to the animals.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Abinmmj

    Moral of this story....lesson will never be learned!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. como1

    New York City restricts all gun ownership to permited by NYPD only. Out of state permits are not honored and the weapon must be secured in a locked container IE car trunk or steel case. So the anti gun crowd with the strictest regulations in the US it still happened. A deranged coworker stalking his coworker victim then turned his sawed off shotgun on bystanders. In China, right before the Aurora incident, a Chinese man killed 8 with a knife and injured several more. Do we need a knife ban?

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

      Why does everyone defend guns in this country? THEY'RE GUNS! They're meant to kill! Until the 2nd amendment is repealed, violence will continue happening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tom

    Toasters don't toast toast, toast toast toast.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Archie Bunker III

    I see the NYC gun ban is really working out.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. riamb60

    European newspapers are stating that the shooter worked at the Empire State building and was recently fired.
    He was going after one of his co-workers because of a dispute.

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

    How did the gunman penetrate New York City's Gun Free Magical Bubble that protects the city? I thought gun control meant no guns? I'm confused.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Duke5343

      Shawn and to Anne below – DONT be a hater just because Shawn is RIGHT & Intellegent enough to see the Q and to Answer it HONESTLY- the LIE is Gun LAWS work when in FACT they do not

      Gun laws KEEP honest people from defending themselves

      August 24, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jointski

    BIG thumbs up to Brenda and Anonymous. The right to bear arms will stand forever. Get used to it. When you restrict a person from obtaining something, they will find a way (think Prohibition). If another co-worker was armed and this person came and started shooting, that co-worker, or another, or a guard could have shot back and killed the suspect. End of story – limited damage done. If someone in that theater that was showing the batman movie was armed, they would have shot back albeit the shooter had on body armor. In that case aim for the head, or another vulnerable spot. The bottom line is that it will take time for law enforcement to reach the scene. By that time, a shooter will get off over 100 rounds. Too late to save folks. Guns will be here folks – they aren't going away. If you shut down all the gun factories, someone will do it in their garage and you will have the same problem.

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

      Yeah, I feel so much safer that a janitor may be packing... what a joke. This isn't the wild west.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      I agree that guns are here to stay, but to think that someone who is armed will have the training and regular practice to return fire in the examples you used and be effective and not hit other innocent people is ludicrous. Being effective with firearms takes training and a lot of regular practice. If you had someone blasting back at a nut who starts shooting in the street or a crowded theater, you're just asking for more victims.
      While I don't want to ban guns, there should be some control on large clips and assault style rifles for common citizens.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. Woody

    People can get guns in Places like Cambodia too . And in pieces guns can be shipped and re assembled . Criminals do not obey gun laws .

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