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. goodcop badcop

    Scenario if everyone was "packing" : Cops gets call for shots fired; people down. Pull up on scene, 5 people with guns shooting. Several don't obey (or don't hear) orders to put down their weapons. Quick, which ones the crook? Which one do they shoot first? Crooks don't wear name tags identifying themselves from other people and I doubt he will raise his hand.
    Not exactly a good idea having everyone armed..especially from a cops point of view.

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

      You watch too many movies. I suspect you think that all guns have an indefinite supply of ammo and that a person carrying a gun for defense could fire hundreds of shots?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • ME2

      So true! Lots of chance for innocents to get shot. If I was the cop I'd drive away and come back when it was all over & sort it out. Better than being accidently shot by some panic stricken plumber packing a .357 in his tool kit!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • ME2

      @mike how many hundred rounds did the CO theater shooter have??

      August 24, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. AtheistHuman

    This may sound outrageous, but this and all the other high profile mass shootings across the country are most likely gov backed, pre cursors to an imminent national weapons ban. The gov wants to take every single weapon out of the publics hands. So when they push new outrageous laws, and population control directives, the public will not be able to retaliate. The world is changing in a very big way, and we are letting it happen. California will be the first sate to go...

    August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • meadowmuffin

      Totally agree. I'm not American so it matters in no way to me who is elected, but it does seem rather strange that all of these shooting are on the tail of an election and a gun law bill...just sayin

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

      No, it doesn't sound outrageous, it sounds utterly stupid.

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

      It's definitely a ploy to get more folk to join the NMRA. (National Model Railroad Association)

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

    The media and the public are hoping the suspect was Muslim. It was probably another white guy with too many guns.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. WPalmer

    How is there "no apparent link to terrorism"? THIS IS TERRORISM!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. arco

    Business as usual. Everyday in America and in all countries where America is occupying for total control is day of killing and a bloodfest. America=murder incorporated.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Karrie123

    There are 270 million guns in this country. How many nutjobs? Plenty. So why is anybody surprised? Sadly, just another day in the US.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • WorkInProgress

      and how many legal gun owners did not go out and commit a crime with their guns?

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

      Then what are they carry a concealed attack weapon for?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. ThatsLife

    @Alex V and you must be not as witty as you think. Blacks don't name their kids Anna. Ronanna maybe but not Anna.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nancy M

    Latest from local news- shooter was fired from his job yesterday. Tried to get back into the office today to kill his boss. The building security stopped him, so he went outside to wait for his boss to leave (possibly when going for coffee break). The number of victims is up to 10 now.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. Griff

    GOD BLESS CANADA and our gun laws!

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

      Yes I`m sure you are a crime proof country.

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

    Could have avoided with better access to social service counseling with healthcare in general. People who are mentally unstable are the ones who shoot others. Go vote for republicans, you guys are nuts.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Thecentrist11

    I don't think that there is any question that pulling guns out of circulation would drive the number of gun-crimes (and deaths) down. It would unquestionably make it more difficult to obtain a gun, even illegally.

    The real question is, is gun control something we're willing to do?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. mirrorview

    Hey Gun control nuts Norway just sentenced killer of 77 to 21 yrs Wow in 21 yrs we get to see if he can break his record and oh I'm sure he won't get a gun due to strict gun control laws!

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

      Actually he has been sentenced to preventive detention. Which is a polite way in Norway of saying he will never be released.

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

      More than just a glance would make it apparent to you that that man is going to stay in jail until he rots. Instead of the American "parole" system, this man will be examined after the 21 years to determine if he is a threat to society, and let me assure you, he will be determined to be a threat. He will be in jail for another 5 years and the process will be repeated again and again for the rest of his life.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • sesterce

      Looks like we all sort of piled on there, I think you gets it. Sorry for seeming a little pedantic.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • riamb60

      He will never walk the streets in Norway again.
      After the 21 yrs in detention he will get another 21 yrs.....

      August 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Yes

    WE SHOULD BAN CAPS LOCK... hee hee

    August 24, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. Gun Toter?

    Amazingly the story below that 19 people were killed in Chicago in 13 minutes is less news that this....

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-shootings-chicago-violence-august-23-august-24-violence-gunfire-20120823,0,49779.story

    Oh... and in Chicago it IS ILLEGAL TO CARRY A CONCEALED WEAPON....

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Judge-Upholds-Conceal-Carry-Law-138861094.html

    August 24, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Gun Toter?

      Wait sorry... it took 30 minutes, not 13 to kill 19 people...

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

      loved your post

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

      Reporting on things that are detrimental to Chicago is a no-no at CNN.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • MiSoFine

      yeah, but that was in Chicago and it it sounds like urban crime. The Empire State Building is a national treasure and they are going to run with the whole 9-11 thing until the election.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. kay k howard

    hahah so you mean cops can only have guns yall crazy soo they can shoot people for no reason . ummm no we need guns for are safty

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