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. I believe the increase in these kinds of acts is partly as a result of...

    partly as a result of the obama administrations choosing to pit one american vs. another american in order to try to win another election...

    black v white
    men v women
    legal v illegal
    catholic v atheist
    ground zero v "intolerance"
    white boston cop v black harvard professor
    trayvon v "justice"
    rich v poor
    abortion v pro life

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

      That is just silly.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • LA

      Could not have said it better.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • I believe the increase in these kinds of acts is partly as a result of...

      its not silly, its a fact that the country is becoming more divided under obama...

      hope and change????

      August 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Political divisions were just as high if not higher during the Bush administration. Sorry, you're making a silly argument that is obviously a reflection of your own personal politics. Crazy people do things like this, for crazy reasons.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. VC

    I pray it is not an Iranian or we may have to send our children to another war.

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

      This is beyond idiotic.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Grampa1

    Such mass shootings have now become a monthly occurrence. Eventually, they will be a weekly occurrence. then daily. then hourly. This is the society we have chosen.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dood

    There is a GUN BAN in new york, so obviously banning guns is working, please tell me why everyone is so stupid, PLEASE

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

      Who cares if guns are banned in New York, when you can buy them somewhere else and bring them in? This is why there need to be stiff gun laws everywhere, to stop easy trafficking.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. 3ric

    Are we actually going to do something about gun control this time, or just wait for more shootings? Cmon, seriously. I guess we are all just going to eat all the die-hard Republican's comments about 2nd Amendment rights?

    I am tired of reading on and on and on about "12 people shot dead, so-and-so wounded...blah blah blah" why don't we put an end to this?!

    I guess we can thank the Republicans for keeping us back in time.

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

    My cousins live close to there and i think that this shouldn't have happened!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • That would be the way to go

      what – as opposed to all the people who do think it should have happened??

      August 24, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. just me

    Instead of spouting off about gun laws, how about more attention to the mentally ill who show how broken our health care system is? Used to be you just "locked up all the crazies". Well thankfully, those days are behind us. But what do you do now? Take the guns away? That doesn't take care of the underlying issue for many of these people. You take away the gun, they'll buy an illegal one. Or get a knife. Or rig up explosives with stuff they can find on a farm. Or just get a blunt instrument and beat the hell out of someone.

    Complex issues require critical thinking and detailed analysis. Not knee-jerk emotional reactions.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. ticcthesoulrebel

    Stop and Frisk really works Huh? Just for the hood. People wake up!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. Andrea Romo

    Just heard Tony Roman call the shooter a "gentleman." This practice of calling alleged criminals "gentlemen" needs to stop. Call him a "man," a "suspect," or the "alleged gunman," but, please, not a gentleman.

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

      He's white, thus the media darling treatment

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

      Semantics aside, the issue here is these public, random shootings need to stop. People are going to stop visiting public places (maybe not to the extreme) and as a result many different industries will suffer. I'm tired of looking over my shoulder. Guns or no guns, there is an underlying issue concerning our society. I know these types of crimes are nothing new to the world, but as a world power we should at least have a better handle on such occurrences. I realize these are absolutely random attacks, I just hope society as a whole starts paying more attention to warning sings in co-workers, family members, etc.I know I do.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. Josh

    There goes the argument that strict gun laws prevent gun violence. What now Bloomberg? Ban eye sight so people can't aim?

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

      Oh nonsense. There goes the argument that guns are good for society. Funny how events like this change nobody's mind, but only entrench them deeper.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Dawg

      NY is not exactly an impermeable city. I am not familiar with NYC gun laws but i do know guns can be bought legally outside and brought in. The fact remains painfully obvious...there are too many guns in this country.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Guns are the problem

      So if a kid drinks and drives and kills someone the laws restricting underaged drinking and the laws against driving drunk do not work???
      Some logic.....

      August 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Chas

      If you look at per capita gun deaths (rate per 100,000 people), NY state is one of the lowest. In 2011 Louisiana had 19.9. Arizona had 15. Mississippi had 18.3. New York had 5.1. I don't think this is about gun laws. I think it's time we asked ourselves why mass violence has become more common in our society? What has changed?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken Lacy

      Why was the security guard unarmed? What is the purpose in having a security guard if they can't defend a situation that arises????

      August 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Bing520

      That's not good enough. We also need to ban all index fingers no triggr can be pulled.

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

      There goes the argument that strict local gun laws are enough. As long as someone can buy guns easily somewhere else, a strict local law doesn't mean squat.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kevin

    no guns means a good thing.

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

      Agreed, but government and criminals will always have guns, so your argument is purely theoretical.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. MUNCHOR

    Just ban the bullets.

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

      Yes, because they're not already plentiful and no one is capable of making reloads, right?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    CNN doesn't want another "Want to fix the gunc control laws" comment as the most popular statement on its website again, so it's changed the comments section for this story to the anonymous type. .

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

    Guns DO kill people because if it was A LOT harder to find or get a gun, even illegally, these same psychos wouldn't always have a gun or ten guns on a day when they lose it. Believe me, i know certain people could still get one if they really want, but at the same time, maybe some of these shootings could be avoided if more just couldn't get their hands on the gun in the first place. This is how it is in other countries. Shootings still happen, but at the moment, it is just too damn EASY to get a gun in America. And i am afraid it is too late for America.

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

      So I guess that is working great in Mexico huh? Draconian gun laws yet the criminals all have them? Innocents are killed daily by the lot. Your logic is flawed as there are examples worldwide that this doesn't work. Look at South Africa.. yeah works well there. How about England which has the HIGHEST violent crime rate in Europe. For that matter Australia whose crime rate skyrocketed and is now climbing even higher in the Queensland area. Yup. Works great... not.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Chappy

      There is no less gun violence in UK, the violence capital of the EU.

      They made some fast adjustments to the actual statistics when it was pointed out. They did not like the embarrassing fact that outlawing us meant only the outlaws had guns.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • sean

      New york gun laws are the strictest in the nation, I dont know why there has been an increase in shooting this year, maybe that is what we should be asking, not make firearms illegal but why in the last two months has there been so much gun violence in America ask yourself that, china firearms are illegal and look at the mass stabbing they have look it up its real, the point im making is crazies are crazies, predators are predators if you dont know what that means you probably live in a nice area, and have had a really posh life, america isnt ot finished because of guns, america is finished because of ignorance,and a lot of other things.

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

      Gun laws do not save lives. Look at the violence all around the world. People who want to kill will kill. You can't ban every weapon. Knives,axes .machetes hoes,piano wire, baseball bats, tree limbs and hammers. Look at the guy in china that killed ten[10] people with an axe. Gun laws didn't stop him.When human life is less important than ones feelings then there will be killings regardless of any law.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Ric

      Allow me to introduce you to a new invention called "The Knife". People will always kill each other and will find the means to do so. Capone once killed a man by beating his brains out with a baseball bat. Wanna ban baseball bats, knives, screw drivers, hammers. rope, wire etc.?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. gene

    I have to say I was just listening to CNN and those reporters have to be the most absolutely idiotic people I have ever heard. All the reporter kept asking the witness was, "so you were just getting your coffee?' and asking the same ridiculous questions over and over.

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