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. blueyegrl527

    Legal or not, do you think this would have stopped this person? People who kill aren't really worried about the laws now are they??? I'm anti-gun, but don't see how making guns illegal will stop gun crime. Crazy people are not usually law abiding citizens.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • lo

      I wholeheartedly agree. Ban guns and people will just make bombs.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Thecentrist11

      Pulling guns out of circulation makes it more difficult to obtain a gun, even illegally.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • from Denver

      Such a true statement! You nailed it on the head.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • mercuryrises

      Gun control isn't about eliminating crime, it's about making it harder for crazy people to obtain weapons. When will people realize this?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • walker

      Exactly. Gun control wouldn't have done anything to prevent this. Gun control laws would only impact people that ABIDE BY THE LAWS. Criminals would still have guns. Seriously.... use your head.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • USA117

      This argument is so tiresome. No, they won't abide by the law - that would be the point. When they break the law by trying or actually obtaining illegal weapons, police would have something to arrest them for. It would be preventative medicine. Instead, we know some people are a little weird, but they have to shoot people before we can do anything.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Ingramrod

      Lol seriously, you think banning drugs stops drug use? People are dumb.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Don't they have strict gun laws in NY (maybe just NYC) already? Didn't seem to help so much, now did it?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      It's hard at this point since everyone already has the guns, but check out places with long-standing gun laws like the UK. No guns, no shootings!

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • 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. If you ban guns you take them out of the hands of good law abiding citizens and the criminals will still get a hold of them. There was a incident here where two thugs went into a store and threatened people, one shot a man.... There was a man in the store that had his concealed carry permit and a gun. He stopped the two thugs, shooting one in the leg so he couldn't run before the police arrived. He didn't shoot to kill but to injure and save the others in the store. So I am pro gun. I have taken classes, self defense classes and they teach you not to first use your weapon, that is your last resort.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      Gun control is not about protecting people or keeping guns away from the "crazies". It's about preventing the population from rising against a tyrranical government.

      And by the way "Thecentrist11", there are well over 100 million guns in this country. How to you propose we take them from the population? How many lives do you think will be lost in this little operation? And how many people do you think will simply claim they "lost" it? Banning guns is just as impractial and silly as setting up a vending machine that sells them.

      August 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lo

    People want a revolution but they don't know how to organize, so there's no outlet for unrest. That's why the young are taking it out on those round them, in the social sphere.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Your an idiot

      August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. robert the progressive liberal

    BAN ALL GUNS!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      NYC allready has a gun ban.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • gager

      YOU WILL NOT TAKE MY GUN.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Lew

      Like Kyle said, guns ARE banned in NYC. I think you need a different platform.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • GenYer

      Yes, because people don't kill people, guns kill people. : /

      August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • scott

      Never will happen, the right to bear arms is in the constiution. Besides in NYC you can go in any alley and buy a gun illegally. Enforce the gun laws in place allready, and increase jail time.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam Wilson

      robert, guns are banned in New York. They have some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. That didn't stop the shooter, though, did it?

      A man was recently killed in an auto accident. Let's ban all cars – they kill hundreds of times more people than guns do.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      What in the H... is that going to do? I can go down to the local slum and buy as many as I want. So banning guns will do what? NOTHING !!!!! People that shoot people for no reason do not care about laws.....

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Robert you are STUPID!!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    No news in and you're already politicizing it????

    August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • helloall

      i agree lets not politicize this as the facts and details are not in as of yet. But also lets look at the facts that are in. They said 5 civilians are injured and only the gun man is dead. NYC has some of the strictest gun laws in the US and therefore semi automatic weapons and 100 round clips are illegal...now imagine a ak-47 with a 100 round clip was used. The job of laws is to minimize the damage done by crazy people because we all know we can not eliminate crazy people from the world. And I never heard anybody that used an AK-47 to go hunting.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. Aja

    Nope! No need for gun control reform here. Nothing to see here, people. Move along! *stepping over dead bodies* Just another "Isolated incident". Only the umteenth one in a few months.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jenn

      Yep make guns illegal so no one but the crazies have them...good idea. *sigh*

      August 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      As already mentioned, New York has a gun ban. Didn't work so well did it?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • What

      New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Aja

      Sorry, where did the words "ban" and "illegal" appear in my post? They didn't? Right. Mmmmkay then.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Aja

      Could have been a tourist. We don't know he's a New Yorker.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      Seriously if we can't even keep heroin, weed, coke, and cellphones out of prisons how do you expect the government to enforce a ban on guns. You can shout from the rooftops for all guns to be banned but all that ends up happening is that criminals wind up having them while law abiding people cower in fear. Nothing will change. If the psychos don't use guns they'll use bombs.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. John

    yes, get rid of legal guns so only criminals have guns....brilliant. Like my idol Mr Charleston Heston said....you can have my guns when you pry them from my cold dead hands!!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Berger

      Yeah, because EU(Norway is not EU) is so full of crime because of it. read the crime ratios on wikipedia before judging.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      Berger – EU still have a high crime rate per capita. Our populations are totally different.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      The only guns being pried from cold dead fingers are the ones belonging to the criminals. Where are all these "legal gun owners" riding to the rescue when these lunatics start firing?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • anton

      Charleston is a city in South Carolina....the NRA guy was Charlton Heston. Your idol....

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Berger

    USA breaking crime records since 1950's

    August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      Been going on since 1492. Get a clue man.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. terry24015

    We are returning to the lawlessness of the old west, a country going backwards with talk of civil war if President Obama gets re-elected. Government wants to control a woman's body, her right to choose, abortion RIGHTS, but has no interest in controlling weapons, that kill full human beings. We are living in scary scary times.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Stunt1637

      Wait, Which one of those are not republican agendas? Im confused... because you just stated everything Romney is for and Obama is against...

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. Don

    You might not have noticed but people from other states are legally allowed to enter New York State, even people who live in the slave states where they have no gun laws, and bring their pestilences with them.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      The slave states? Wow, no loaded meaning there. Your attempt to tie something you dislike to something like slavery is repugnant.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • bill

      No, they're not. Check your facts before you post. Unless you're comfortable with making a complete fool of yourself. If so, send your resume into CNN.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      You are very stupid. Come on down to this slave state and say that. Punk!

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kyle

    This always happens. The media has an agenda though so they focus on it.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Mandy

      Well said!

      August 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. NY_pgls

    patNY – not the anwser

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. DanNY

    looks like those strict gun laws in NYC really work huh?

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Wait, what??? they have really strict gun laws in NY? Well, then, this must not have happened!

      August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Beach luva

      Maybe if it wasn't only NY that had them, they would! Not saying to ban al guns, but there needs to be stiffer penalties for selling illegal guns, deeper background check on all purchases & a ban on assault rifles and armor piercing bullets.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ron

    Here we go.....

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Laurie

    GUNS do not kill people. PEOPLE kill people. If the guns weren't legal guns would be illegal. Its the People!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. lolatyouall

    wow all you gun hater out there, are you really that dumb ? in NYC where you CANNOT legally carry ... and its very hard to purchase a gun ...and this happened its very clear gun laws DO NOT WORK lol but the mindless sheep will always follow where they're told and blame the guns

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Beach luva

      Do you read the papers or listen to the news? Innocents are killed everyday & you don't think some kind of reform needs to take place? If it weren't so easy & profitable for relling of guns, if there were stiffer penalties, it would help. Granted, crack pots who want to kill & maim will probably find a way, but let's make it a little toughter for them to find that way!

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • For God's Sake...READ

      GUNS ARE _NOT_ BANNED IN NEW YORK.

      Shotguns and other rifles are FULLY legal to purchase. Furthermore, the "strict" gun laws you people keep yammering about apply ONLY TO NEW YORK CITY itself, in other parts of the state they are not nearly as regulated. So this shooter could have easily gone to another part of the state. Not that he or she likely needed to, as many of the reports stated it was a rifle or shotgun. Either way, New York DOES NOT have some sort of mythical gun ban. You are all speaking out of ignorance, when you could use the internet in a second to find the truth.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
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