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. fastball

    How many "bad apples" do we have to tolerate before someone sooner or later says "ENOUGH with the guns".
    Something has to change.
    People are dying left, right and center....and all we say is "Oh, well...that's the cost of having our 2nd amendment".

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

    People need to leave their crazy at home! Why do others have to be subject to theyre madness!!! Praying for all who were injured and also for our nation!

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

    We need more conservative gun control! This is happening way to often! We. Are not safe anywhere that's said

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

    It is never too late to review the gun control laws to make it a life imprisonment for all who own guns illegally. "Legal" owners should only be designated to law enforcers/army personnel and certain special investigators and diplomats. Say, give 1 month for everyone who does not fall under above categories to give up their guns. If not done by the deadline,then life imprisonment or that person. For hunters, they need not own guns to hunt . Put on more gun rental stores all over and maybe they could have a club where hunters pay a certain membership fee per mth and get to use the guns , like renting skates for ice skating. This is not in violation of the 2nd amendment as it is deemed to reduce deaths and injuries to the innocent....prolife conservatives should view it as such, ie if they are truly prolife. The public has to fight for this to pressure the current Congress to act. Where guns are not so easily assessable, even a lunatic will find it difficult to get hold of them when overheated with angry emotions .

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

    maybe too much "conspiracy" radio and TV? LOL

    August 24, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. DaveYoung

    This may pale in comparison to all the havock Barry will wreak when he is fired from his ill gained job. Be afraid.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. Senior Itchy

    I'll bet this can be traced back to some woman making him nuts.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Bing520

      women are evil. Now the are more deadly than guns.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bing520

    Everyone should arm with a loaded gun so that bad guy can't shoot unarmed folks. Every time a bad guy pulls the trigger, he'd be worried about being shot.

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

      Except for people with presidential body guards, of course.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. britney k

    The problem isn't citizens HAVING guns. The problem is most of the ones who own and carry a gun are trigger-happy Republicans.

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

      who else can we rely on to thin out the creepy commies and the liberal zombies ?

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

      are you kidding me? wow what a naive comment.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Knee Jerk Idiots

    "19 people shot in overnight shootings across Chicago" – Headline this morning. But let's not pay attention to that because it's blacks and browns shooting each other.

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

      because obummers town has the strict gun laws ... they wouldnt want to make it obvious how strict gun laws dont work would they?

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

    No link to terrorism! That makes me feel better. Just another good old, garden variety American shooting.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. james648

    Here we go again.. More guns.. More debate... More anger...

    August 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. karllinen

    One officer said there is no connection to terrorism. We have the Aurora shooting, the Sikh temple and I've lost count on a few more, but you call it what you want. The media is feeding this frenzy; now you have the dead and injured in front of the Empire State Building.

    Look for more...soon. There's a lot of loose cannons out there.

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

      Yep, so you better arm yourself.

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

    Wait, I thought the country was improving. I get bashed here regulalrly by people saying that my notion of American cultural history is romanticised, and that we'll be better off as a country when all of us old people and our ignorant notions of what's right and wrong are dead. Our adherance to antiquated ideas about civility and proper behavior in public, etc., We were so repressed and unenlightened!

    Well, so far, you younger people aren't doing a very good job. But that's just my opinion.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. d

    how did this go from a shooting outside the empire state building to race and left wing right wing? im confused! Im going to pray for all of you!

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

      Someone could post a picture of a turtle on here, eventually it would become a right vs left debate. LOL the internet.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
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