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. x

    And the beat goes on.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. David M

    You can ban private ownership of guns and it will not stop the shooting. If I want a gun badly enough I can get one, whether it's legal or not. Repealing the 2nd amendment will not change anything, other than making it a little more difficult to get a gun, but it will not prevent getting one.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Rock

      You have been deluded and are trying to delude others if you really believe that Joe. Less guns will equal less gun related deaths...period.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      @ Rock.

      Then please explain why gun related crimes have gone down even though gun ownership has skyrocketed since 2008.

      The facts are against you. Period.

      August 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jerry

    less people may have been shot and killed if more bystanders had guns. instead they had to wait until the police arrived. i live in nyc and it is a huge ordeal to obtain a gun much less receive a concealed permit.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Rock

      Yeah right Jerry, they all would have shot on another by accident in panic....

      August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Frank

    Enough with the gun ownership bashing people. I am not a fan of them, but dont blame them. If this guy went around with a baseball bat and killed those people, do we outlaw baseball bats? The REAL problem in this will be if this guy doesnt get the chair.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • redwine9991

      BATS ARE FOR PLAYING BASEBALL. GUNS PROMOTED BY THE NRA ARE FOR KILLING!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Rock

      There is no way he could have killed that many with a bat...that is the point and do not try to foucs away from it.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Rock

      There is no way he could have killed that many with a bat...that is the point and do not try to focus away from it.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tom216

    Just another day in a corrupt world. Nothing surprising.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. King

    He was probably from Jersey....or Norway.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. nyctechsupport

    IN NYC there is NO way it could be a legal gun as guns are "generally" illegal in NYC with the exception of law enforcement. I hate hearing the idiots who say repeal the 2nd amendment – if guns were LEGAL in NYC it wouldn't only be those who are criminals and those with criminal intent (including the NYPD) who would be armed – and yes, it would make NYC a SAFER place!!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. redwine9991

    ANOTHER VICTORY FOR THE NRA!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. Louise

    Ban all private ownership of guns ??? You know the bad guys will still have access to any gun they want.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. Matt

    So how many mass shootings does it take for the government to step up and do some thing about gun control laws?

    August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Lets turn this around...what if a legal gun owner was there...one dead assailant and maybe only 1 shot instead of 5!! I think more people should be armed. If NYC didnt have such strict gun control measures, maybe some law abiding citizen with a gun and permit could have stopped this. Thanks Mr Bloomberg!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      This is the argument that is always used when someone shoots a bunch of people, but the reality is that there this is not a movie and things don't happen like this.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. Lew

    Our population has been exploding + available guns/technology = Random nut jobs. (Drug and chemical exposure as well). Just a fact of human life.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mark L.

    Someone needs to REVOLT against the NRA !!!! The NRA's lobbyists are preventing any type of gun control. NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE ENTIRE WORLD gets away with the CRAP people get away with here because of these huge lobby groups and the IDIOTS that support them !!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. John

    Ban all guns! Just like banning explosives on airplanes helped so much during 9/11! Bad guys will always find a way to make mayhem.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • sesterce

      What in heck are you talking about? Al-Qaeda didn't use any explosives on the planes.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • MJ1972

      11 years later and there are STILL people who think explosives were used on 9/11? Scary.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. worlds gone crazy

    and we see the media machine trying to sway public opinion about gun ouwnership,,,so obvious

    August 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
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