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. amitavo mitra

    i presume the 'logical' response from NRA and right wing would be to get all americans to buy a gun and carry it around everywhere they go...so the next time there is a shooting, everybody can whip out their piece,and instead of few casualties, we will have mass casualties where everyone is shooting everyone trying to defend themselves..and when no one is left standing, , well...its a success! because no more killings!...makes sense...

    August 24, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • EDUCATION IS KEY

      i find it totally amazing that all you liberals against guns are taking AIM at the NRA FOR WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO SAY .... let me say this one thing for all you people that call yourselves american! this country was founded on the GUN if it wasnt for the gun we would be still a british controlled piece of land if you think im lying check up on your history or just type in your little google search bar about general cornwalace and such. secondly does alcohol in a bottle make people drunk if its just sitting in a bottle NO, does a computer make a person a pedophile NO, does food make people fat and obese NO , these are all things lifeless things that a PERSON takes upon him or her self to do good or bad a gun is just as such it is a piece of meatal that in the hands of a criminal it is a bad thing, but in the hands of a good person it is used to protect and save. oh wait wait wait how about we disarm our military in afgahnistan and see how that works out. please all you people that are against the gun are very very very uneducated and closed minded here is one to finish off....HEY MAYOR BLOOMBERG HOW IS THAT GUN CONTROL WORKING OUT FOR YOU considering that there are alot of shootings in new yorks gehttos that we dont ever hear abot untill somthing like this happens eh???? hey mayor and all of you like minded folk CRIMINALS DONT FOLLOW RULES!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • amitavo mitra

      yea....let's do it.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Over It

    It literally take 2.5 seconds for the CNN comment section to turn into a race war. When will you people give it a REST?? An innocent bystander was killed and all you people care about is whether the shooter is black or white. it PATHETIC

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

      All we care about is race? Can't imagine where that comes in a society where racism is the number one card pulled out on a regular basis by a particular 'race' that will remain unstated.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. John

    gosh, i hope the republicans don't use this to interfere with people's god-given 2nd amendment rights on the floor of the convention next week.

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

    Nonsense!!!! I really wish people would learn how to show some type of sympathy in regards to these posts that involve tragic incidents; instead of spewing political left-right rhetoric! Part of the reason why things of such are happening is because people would rather point the finger instead of actually standing up for what they 'Vociferate' on each and every post. We ALL have to do better if we expect better!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dave in Ga

    Ray...In NYC you do not have the choice to carry or not carry so that is not an issue. NYC, Chicago, and Washington, DC have the most restrictive gun control laws in the US. The NYC police resolved the situation in the proper manner. Specifically, what additional legislation would you require to protect innocent bystanders? Require them to wear a ballistic vest? Wait, the person the perp killed was shot in the head. How about vests and helmets? It's fine to propose a national dialogue, but at least give us some specifics on what you want to discuss.

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

      You also forgot about new jersey and maryland, they are just as bad, this should be interesting when Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks, him and Rudy Giuliani are the biggest againt people who lawfully own firearms and the 2nd admendment.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. russ

    USA! USA!!!!! Oh, I'm proud to be an American, whereat least I think I'm free....

    August 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. POLITICIANSAREAJOKE

    "it's too soon to talk about gun control...."

    August 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. mirrorview

    Probably a domestic dispute shooting. Instead of gun control maybe consuling people that want what they can't have in life!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kurt

    I just heard the news. Very tragic

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

    The US is exceptional only in gun murders.

    Go team go.

    I'm sure the NRA will spin this as some sort of terrorism thing OR just some nut who STILL had to have access to a gun...even though he was a nut.

    The can never be wrong...can they?

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

      Because the criminals follow the gun laws, right? The City of Chicago has very strict gun laws, yet they're on track to go over 500 homicides this year.. If those darn guys would just learn the law, I bet they'd stop huh. If people want weapons of any kind, and want them bad enough, they will get them, gun laws or not. The UK, which also has tight gun control still has shootings despite that. There are many more responsible gun owners that have actually SAVED lives, yet those don't get national attention unless it's an 90 y/o woman from Texas. In a country with 300+ million people, there's going to be a few whack jobs – and those are the ones that make the news. This is just one topic that will never go away. You're either for or against.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Amazed

    Actually, it's being reported that this started as a workplace dispute

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

    I can hear Bloomberg already "WHAT ARE OBAMA AND ROMNEY GOING TO DO ABOUT GUNS IN AMERICA? Maybe he will say "Now is not the time for politics, it's the time for mourning!"

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

    I feel bad for the families of the two dead. Where were the concealed carry nutcases who go everywhere with a piece? Laws don't detract them. Geez, you think someone would have been able to "protect" the people. This is why concealed carry doesn't work.

    As for the Canada folks who tout tighter gun laws – I'm with you that it's up to the citizenry to be forthcoming and MORAL about their own society. However, a guy in Toronto I just spoke with said he had to register his guns, but only registered a couple of them because he didn't feel like the government should know about all his guns. It's a slippery slope Canada.

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

      You can't conceal carry in NYC genius. It's a "gun free city", so how did someone pop the magical bubble? Point proven that gun laws only disarm sensible law abiding citizens.

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

      You obviously have no clue about concealed carry laws. It varies from state to state. NY is a 'may issue' state and therefore local authorities have input into whether or not a CCW permit will be issued. Good luck getting a CCW in NYC. Otherwise keep your mouth shut about things you obviously haven't a clue. By the way I am an armed liberal.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. Aaron

    Gun laws only keep law abiding citizens unarmed. It's an ugly truth. This sad incident clearly illustrates that. You cannot change intent with a law.

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

      So you would like to have ten people on the crowded street shooting at each other, many not knowing who the first shooter was?

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

      This "shoot out scenario" is a big worst case scenario that would likely never happen. It's never happened in a self defense situation. What IS happening is that people that follow the rules are being left defenseless. Second, you're assuming every American will carry a gun. That also will never happen. It's a choice, but it's one that should be available to you as a free man. I'm not saying I would pull a weapon and respond if I didn't know exactly who the shooter was, in that situation my only responsibility is to flee. However, I do believe I should have the right to defend myself with equal force.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. Riptide

    Paranoia. There are what 300 million people in this country? 14,000 are murdered every year. You are quite safe. Your chances of being murdered are tiny. Don't let the media coverage of incidents like these get you unhinged.

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

      Your chances of being murdered by guns are a lot higher than being killed by terrorists, YET, there is this trillion dollar war on terror being fought. Why not a war on guns?

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

      Vehicles kill more people than guns Sean. They also pollute. Why not a war on CARS! Take all the money dedicated to roadways and build bike paths. It would also get rid of corporate giants like WalMart and make for closer knit, organic communities. Hey, I'm on to something here! Guns aren't the problem, they're just getting the attention as of late because of fundamental misunderstandings and ignorance. Take a car onto the sidewalks of NYC and you can do much more damage, I assure you.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
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