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. Trish Cotto

    Poor New York. Lord please let my two Nephews be o.k. they are NYPD Police Officers. I am already praying for the family of the poor innocent by-stander.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. weebitwidd11e

    Let us know whom the victims were ...as far as the suspects concerned it's just a nobody, I don't care who it was.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. Boe Goss

    Great job by police in ended this before more people were killed. Well done.

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

      How about it could have ended FAR sooner had the people of the city been allowed to carry legally. Too many situations like this applaud law enforcement. Yet they were not there at that moment and are strictly a reactionary force. Had the citizens been armed this may have very well ended far sooner. Too many cases of law abiding citizens stopping a shooter with a legally carried firearm prove this point. Unfortunately the MSM does not report on this because it goes against their agenda.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tom Shannon

    For goodness sakes! Take away those guns! This isn't the military, you know!

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

      Gee, yes, because only the military should have guns, right? Yes, let's not let anyone hunt, let's not let the police have guns, and for heavens' sake, let's not let law-abiding citizens protect themselves. I'm sure the criminals will turn their guns in when the ban happens.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Uncle A

    Real handy for the shooter, unarmed targets everywhere. Thank God he used a gun and not a bomb like they do in gun free Ireland. Why don't our all powerful political giants pass a law against being nuts. And disarm there own people.

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

    Seems like almost every week someone is opening fire and killing people. this is crazy and has to stop.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. VC

    STATE OF THE UNION
    GOVERNMENT FABRICATES – OBAMA MANDATES; WALL STREET EXTORTIONATES – BANK CONFISCATES; CHURCH VIOLATES – PAPA ERADICATES; MEDIA EXAGERATES – INTERNET INSTIGATES; NATION FRUSTRATES – PEOPLE OUTRAGES...... LANCE ARMSTRONG IS A LIAR.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. beer immediately

    next will be some lunatic to try something during these conventions with elections coming up.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. Daniel

    Get use to it PEOPLE!
    With new gun laws since 1985 sweeping the entire continental United States, this type of news is going to happen weekly.
    Thank you NRA, for killing and frightening tourist from wherever.

    The headlines in those countries will again be "The Gun Murder Capitol of the World: The USA!!!"

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

      With dishonest statistics. They control guns in Eu, they do not stop fun violence. The only difference is honest citizens cannot protect themselves.

      And they blame US.

      Quote: "The figures follow a warning by Mr Grayling that U.S.-style gang culture has reached some parts of the UK.

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223193/Culture-violence-Gun-crime-goes-89-decade.html#ixzz24TXuz9ZA"

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

      Mayor Bloomberg was right. See what too much soda does to New Yorkers? It makes them get guns and shoot people. Ban large sodas now, NY!!!!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. ray

    Thank the gutting of the mental health hospitals back in the 80's. Its a wonderful world if you're a robpublican.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tam

    Keep supporting that 2nd Amendment, folks. Sure has kept us safe.

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

      i guess if we had a police force 175 million strong they could assign each and every one of us one to keep us safe, I`m sure this will give liberal idiots like you a warm fuzzy feeling.

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

      It would if the citizens of NYC were allowed to exercise their 2nd amendment rights.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dennis C

    Far too many Americans are just plain stupid and clueless on this gun control issue. I wouldn't trust most of my fellow Americans with a TV Remote, let alone a gun. Vote for ignorant right wing Tea Baggers and watch your country go further down the drain. Even if there were no guns, there would still be incidents like this with knives and other weapons. What makes so many Americans so angry ? Could it be the lies spread by Rush Limbaugh, Faux News ?

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

      funny this is all happening under our current POTUS

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

      Knives require the assailant to get close to his victim, increasing the chances of his conscience taking over. Guns let him dehumanize his victim by killing from a distance.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Avan Siul

    It's beyond my comprehension how people use these events to push their anti-gun control agenda, it's like saying that someone died because they were driving drunk is a proof that the laws against drunk driving are useless, it doesn't make any sense!

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

      An automobile is not falsely claimed to be a defensive weapon.

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

      Not really a valid analogy.

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

    Perhaps more correctly - Non-Work place violence, rather than work-place violence. I'll bet the shooter was unemployed.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. LBW

    Do you hear voices and think the whole world is out to get you?

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