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. Sian Killingsworth

    CNN, your rush is showing. Two people are dead. One woman was also killed. Do you mean that the woman is not a person, and in fact 3 living bipeds have been shot? Or was the woman one of the two people who were shot? Come on, hire a proofreader!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. David Murray

    here we go. Another mass shooting and guess what. It follows the same pattern – always in a GUN FREE ZONE. Good ole' New York city and their gun bans.. nobody can defend themselves.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      I find your irrationality comical. He was shot and killed by police. Have you ever been to NYC? Cops are all over the place, with guns. Are saying, an unstable, suicidal, gun totting maniac would have been reluctant to incite anything if there were gun laws? And furthermore, what delusional world do you live in – if everyone carried guns and a maniac, such as this guy, started shooting and 5 people brought out their gun, who would be the bad guy? You have 5 people carrying guns shooting each other. We're not in a movie. The bad guy isn't wearing 'bad guy clothing.'

      August 24, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Pepinium

      Unfortunately David, the truth is that, thanks largely to people who think like you, THERE IS NO GUN FREE ZONE in this country !! Any half-brained moron is free capable of obtaining as many high caliber weapons as they choose by simply traveling to another state or purchasing it from a friend or gun show in the middle of Nowhere-America. To suggest that our lives and society would be better if everyone walked around carrying a concealed (or displayed, for that matter) weapon is to throw away the towel on civilization and concede that the troglodytes have won the day. No surprise there, these are the same type of people who are able to convince themselves that the gun they keep in the attic is the guarantee of our Democracy. Some day, hopefully in the not too distant future, historians will have a heck of a time reconciling the fact that the country with the best Universities and most advanced technology in the world also had the highest percentage of idiot gun lovers.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alex

    If anything, this proves that gun laws don't work. For all practical purposes, guns are illegal in NYC. Yet this still happened. We need to change the culture, not the laws.

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

      Guns aren't illegal in NYC... Try again.

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

    NY Cops probably too busy frisking random black people to have had time for this. 10-1 this guy was as white as the driven snow...

    August 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. James Caan

    God Bless the U.S.A. – Were guns are plenty and senseless violence commonplace.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Curious

    My heart goes out to the family of the deceased and those that were injured! Now I can't wait to see the NRA and the Liberals go at it over this one!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. Donnie the Lion

    It is hard to get past the fact that, with the British every bit as nutty as we are, their gun control laws seem to drastically reduce the number of gun-related deaths. And there are plenty of criminals in the U.K., by the way.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. Keel Hauler

    New York has some of the toughest gun control laws in the USA. Further proof that gun control doesn't work, and that people in such "unarmed" cities are just helpless prey.

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

    Are these types of crimes happening more often here in the U.S. or is the media just reporting on these incidents more often?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Donnie the Lion

      Technology has allowed crimes to make it to national news almost instantly, with video/images. That has definitely impacted what we hear about.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. MetalDave

    Simple solution to this problem: Divide the country in half and build a huge wall and ask all Americans which side of the wall they would like to live on, the side with all of the gun carrying idiots who think its safer for everyone to carry firearms or the side where there are no guns. Let them all kill themselves. Oh yeah, and once you make your choice you don't get to change your mind. Morons.

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

      OK, Ill pick the 2nd amendment side. Good luck on the liberal "disarmed" side. You can have California.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. rainblossoms

    Reading through the majority of comments I have to say this is obnoxious, innocent people were harmed and one killed. This instance or any like it has nothing to do with the current controversy going on gun laws so to make a tragedy into a low blow at a "liberal state" is in poor taste. It also shows the lack of consideration for another’s life our society has. Take a step back and try to have some compassion. Think about the victims’ family, how would you feel is this were to suddenly come crashing down on your life? Stop being naïve, if you want to fight for your right to bear arms do so in a constructive way, not in an uneducated comment.

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

    Authorities! say there is no apparent link to terrorism. Is there also no apparent link to being a hate crime? In my book a crime is a crime.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. Keith

    The Bloomberg administration keeps saying this is not terrorism related. I say they are wrong. We in this country are in fact are experiencing a massive wave of internal terrorism perpetrated by unaffiliated wack jobs who on a almost weekly basis are murdering large numbers of innocent people in public places.

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

      A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

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

      When victimized citizens are ignored... by dishonest lazy governoment workers and officials who rely on ignoring complainants until they "go away"... this is the final price. Innocent people are harmed due to government's failed policies. Time for this government to start responding, take accountbility, and address greivances. Then, frustrated people don't need to be "heard". Blame the government. #1 – Fix our dihonest judicial system that now operates FOR MONEY... not justice.

      That is my opinion.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bob

    Guns don't kill people, a society filled with poorly educated, easily manipulated, gun loving individuals kill people.

    Canada has lots of guns, some gun controls, and a rate of shootings that is 20 times per capita less than the USA.

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

      You're making generalizations, the shooter could have had mental illness. Why don't you wait to find out what happened before blaming society for an event you have limited information about.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. tp1776

    my respect and sorrow for the dead and injured. Scorecard update: NRA +9, people -9

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

      All the people who own and carry that haven't shoot anybody would disagree with that statement.

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