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. zoyster1

    So, you'd rather he poisoned the entire building instead.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sean

    "Arce talked to several international tourists who were standing around. "They were completely stunned by what happened and were screaming," Arce reports."

    WELCOME TO THE LAND OF THE FREE!!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Realityblowz

    Quick Bloomberg! Leap upon the pile of victims here to push your anti gun agenda. Get in that hot spotlight. Nevermind the fact that weapons for self defense are darn near completely banned in your town. How did this happen then when no one is allowed to have a gun in your town?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jessica W

    As long as there are guns (legal or not) people will continue to die. Whether it's the gang banging drug dealer, the psycho hubby/wife (who takes out their entire family because they lost their job), or the police.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. gpforreal

    I hate to be cynical, but get used to it, America. More and more unsatisfied people in an unfair society, but with all kinds of access to guns. 3 in the last month, and more to come.

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

      Couldn't have said it better..

      August 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. dave

    not surprise that another idiot were born into this world! (or so called "free world")

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

      WHITE CHRISTIAN TERRORIST

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

    Just because you report that an event is "not related to terrorism", doesn't mean that the persons involved aren't terrorized!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. SeattleDenMom

    To whomever mentioned that guns and anti-depressants were the problem... Oh man. If only more people sought therapy over guns, that might help a bit.

    ** Note to insurance companies, please approve of mental health more easily - not necessarily drug-only or non-drug-only, in-patient or out-patient only – different varieties of mental health solutions work for a variety of people and illnesses.

    To Dave who mentioned something about how safe NYC is. AGREED! I've never felt safer in all the metropolitan cities, suburbs, kountree towns, and rural areas - in all time zones! - as when I lived in NYC. Special shout out to the locals who live there and making everyone who comes in feel at home. NYC – Miss your guts!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. CJ

    People are so reactionary its disgusting.

    Want effective gun control? Then we need a national ID with your picture, thumb print and a national database...for everyone.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donnie the Lion

      Totally agree!

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

      Can we put GPS tracking in there too? And require all citizen to have it one them at all times?

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

    Well he could of just drove his car on the side walk and ki11ed 300 people and would probably still be running over them had he used his CAR!

    BAN CARS!

    This is how LIBERALS think. Mindless children living in a fantasy world.

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

    Many many criminals are off the streets because of the manditory 3 year prison sentence if you are caught with a gun in nyc. Violent crime is down nearly 80% over the past few decades.
    Simpletons should get just a little more informed before you state that gun control doesn't work. This just shows that gun control should be stricter!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. faboge

    this has nothing to do with race you losers! This is just another wing nut! We have a bumper crop this year

    August 24, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. sarahisfree

    NO MORE MASS SHOOTINGS!
    What causes people to do this? To kill strangers? Mental illness, evil, violent video games, abuse....WHAT!?
    I am glad the shooter was taken out. One less sicko wasting air and money in a prison cell. Children are starving in other countries but our murderers still have a right to three squares a day. Disgusting.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. New Gawker

    New york has extremely strict gun laws, unfortunately all our criminals take a short drive to Virginia to buy all their guns and bring them into our city.

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

      There is no need for a road trip to buy a gun, New York is the biggest importer of black market guns in the country. It's a shame that NY failed to pass their micro stamping law, if they had the police would have valuable tool for finding out who the criminal was. Oh yeah, he's right there on the sidewalk.

      How many of those injured were shot by Bloomberg's private army? If he's going to give them Assault Weapons to spray random murder from their high capacity assault clips you have to expect some collateral damage. But that's OK, it's within their guidelines for abusing the public.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jim M

    Just 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 11:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jack Strauss

      Dont blame the medications, This was an American Terrorist, probably Christian. Blame the religion like you blame Islam. Be equal in your judgement, you idiot.

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