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. TrueChristian

    The Lord Jesus Christ made a promise to come back and kill everyone on Earth, yet we glorify and worship him. Maybe this person is doing the Lord's work. We can not judge him. All praise to Jesus, The God of death. May he bless you with golden roads and mansions after he kills you. Believe in him or he will condemn you to suffer eternally after he kills you.

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

    driving a car and shooting a theater full of people are 2 different things. bad analogy. nobody should be allowed to own a gun besides law enforcement. end of story. people w/ no criminal records are going out there blasting away on a daily basis. those who disagree will change their minds once someone they know becomes a victim.

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

    Gun laws in NY are a joke when you can easily go to another state and buy guns and bring them back here. The solution is to allow citizens to be armed. I can guarantee that respect for one another will increase and the shootings will go down. Trust me.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Daniel

    Next, we are going to see shoot-outs with these nuts and permited Concealed carry (CCW) with weapons.
    Those CCW will be shooting it out with these nuts saying "Now THATS why I am Packing a weapon!!"

    August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jim M

    Like in the Colorado shooting, this action appears to be driven in part by the dangerous side effects of antidepressants. It's time to ban these unsafe drugs, and bring back reality to tens of millions of Americans.

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

    Damn terrorism paranoia!

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

    According to the NRA, "Guns don't kill people...people kill people."

    August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Duke5343

      Chuk- WOW you really said somethind DUMBER than Obama could say_ HELLO maroon WHO Pulled the Trigger a man or a GUN??? Did the Gun go off on its own??? What if he used a Sword??? then what would you say

      DUMB & DUmber go hand and hand with Liberals & Dems

      August 24, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • emmDFW

      Absolutely. And they can do it a whole lot more efficiently with automatic assault rifles, too.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Cal Olson

      ...And they would be correct...

      August 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Ban guns. Use tasers if you want to protect yourself. Make owning tasers legal and owning guns of any type illegal. Time to make amendment to the amendment!!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • T.C

      I could lay every gun I have out on a table and leave them in a room alone and none of them will shoot anyone. So Chuk A gun does require a operator. (GUN LAWS DON'T WORK) Neither do social programs.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • choward5400

      Does no one want to look at the underlying reason why this guy did what he did? Or why any of these guys do what they do? Could have been a bomb, acid, car, poison, or knife. Guns are not the issue here. Ignored psychosis and depression...

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

      Chuk.. did the gun fire itself? If someone made a bomb by researching thru the internet, should we ban the use of the internet? So the next time someone detonates a bomb, you'll blame the bomb, not the bomb maker? According to you, we should put the blame on the instrument of death, and not on the person responsible.. Free all the murderers that used guns, because it was the guns that killed, not the people..

      August 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. leyla

    There is no apparent link to terrorism, a law enforcement official said.
    In other words; he is not a Muslim.

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

      duh.......

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

      If you think only a few Muslims have done terrorist acts, then you are ignorant. The majority of Terrorist acts around the world have been done by Christians and Athiests. Even the Jews arent spared on this one (given the majority of Serial Killers have been Jewish). Every Religion has a few radical idiots whom they dont want to be connected to in any way or form to that specific Religion. Its NOT religion which causes fighting, ITS CORRUPT PEOPLE, who use religion as a playing card.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. zoyster1

    Must have been a Liberal. Just thought I'd get that out of the way since the left wing looney's will be opining the opposite.

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

      The shooter was fired from his job yesterday, another victim of the transition to s0cialism bad economy. If he voted for BO, he voted to lose his job, just didn't realize it would happen when he punched the ticket. Another casualty of hope & change

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

      Stupid comment.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. ItsAWhiteThing

    Another white terrorist.

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

    Sorry folks but Americans are now second best at gunning down people. The Normegian's 69 and 7 by bomb will be tough to beat.

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

      White Christian Terrorist!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joe S.

    I thought taking away our civil liberties and illegally intercepting all communications was supposed to prevent this..?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Pager710

    wrong place to have a shoot. Given the high profile nature of the Empire State Building, there is ESU on the premises it seems around the clock.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. venica smith

    Carmen got home just in time. She was there three days ago.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. TJ

    We need to go back to the old west days. Everyone needs to start packin.

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

      TJ that's exactly where we are right now, a bunch of uneducated yahoo's with guns

      August 24, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
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