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. jon

    Get rid of all guns.

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

      No!! Arm everyone......this wouldn't have happened if everyone was armed

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

      ^ LIKE

      August 24, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Dmitri

      @Sean 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 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • spuds

      @Dimitri, you are assuming concealed weapons(cwp) holders are just complete idiots who can't wait to pull their gun and start shooting. The fact is we have all received training to have a cwp.

      Here's a question, would you feel more safe with two armed cops (concealed undercover police) than two concealed weapon holders (citizens)? I know the obvious answer, but you have to ask why is that? Many cwp holders are trained just as well as police in handling firearms, some are even better trained.

      August 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Deacon

    This man is your well-armed militia, America. Congratulations.

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

    Was there 2 weeks ago and saw a guy and a lady (who was empire building ticket seller) having a fight right in front of the building....wonder whether those 2 dead are them?

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

    How could this happen in NYC, which has ultra-strict gun control laws?

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

      Long Island and Upsate NY is right next door...also you can obtain any firearm legally just as long as nothing pops up in the background check.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. meli

    dont be afraid of the Gun
    be afraid the IDIOT holding it!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. PCFIVEZ

    i bet if we all were carrying guns these people would think twice before pulling out to shoot for no reason. the gunman is always brave when he knows his target(s) will not shoot back.

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

      So you would like to have twenty people on the crowded street shooting at each other, some not knowing who the first shooter was? One guy shoots, another shoots, the shooter, somebody else turns around and thinks the second shooter is the bad guy and shoots him, ten more draw their guns. Have you even thought about this for ten seconds?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. just a guy

    First of all a tragedy has fallen NYC again, and the oly thing people can discuss is the politics of gun control and the colour of persons who use them. Shame on you people the only thing coming out of your pathetic mouths should be Sorry for the victims familes loss and hang in there NYC.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. pork&beans

    Good Morning Republicans!
    We almost made it a week without one of these.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    This only means we need more gun control laws to make illegal the illegal guns outlawed by the gun control laws currently in place.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff

    Guns are already illegal in NY city limits- that's MAXIMUM "gun control"....... Again, guns don't kill people; people kill people.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. ZINA

    WTH??? People lives are being taken away and all you guys can do is play the race game. It doesnt matter what race, creed or color the fact of the matter is people are dying. Stop for a moment and say a prayer for the victims instead of throwing comments about the race. Does it really matter if the shooter was black or white?? It shouldnt!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Skander

    No Link to Terrorism! Really? Does it have to be a muslim as the bad guy for it to be terrorism. Is there more terrifying thing in this world than walking in the street and not knowing if a nut case would pull a gun and start shooting. In my opinion, this is TERRORISM. This is what will change our way of life and keep us terrorised

    August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. Geoge Washinton

    Great job on the part of the police, intimidating all these law abiding tax payers into becoming unarmed targets.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. stop the nonsense

    Lets all be civil here. This has got to end people, we are all AMERICANS that need to bond together for a better future for our generation. It's not a white, black, latino thing crime is done by all race. STOP YOUR RACIST RANTS and accept each other and tolerate one another. IT'S GOT TO STOP!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Inquiring Minds

    CNN, you reported the man being pursued as being shot in the head and killed, yet you are only reporting 2 people dead (the gunman and a woman). What happened to the man being pursued?

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