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.

Are you there? Share your story

• 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. SidDavis

    So I guess Bloomberg's strict gun control laws prevented this guy from getting a gun and using it. Or did the laws just disarm the people willing to follow it so they became easy prey for someone inclined to be violent?

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

      Great thinking! Let's give free loaner guns to all tourists so they can falsely feel safer while in the dangerous everywhere USA.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • linda123

      Right. If there had been others armed on the street, there would be 50 dead instead of only one. (I don't count the gunman, here) Everyone with a gun thinks they're as good a shot as Dirty Harry.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      Sid you might want to add some education on facts before spouting off. Sullivan's law bans hand gun in NYC not rifles and shotguns. This crime was done with a rifle, so in fact Sullivans law is working as violent crime in NYC is down 80% in the past 3 years.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • nick

      missing the poing. still the count is 1 ( excluding the gunman ).

      August 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Donnie the Lion

      Terrorists would LOVE it if tourists were able to bring guns into the Empire State Building. That is not the answer. More armed security guards where the tourists were standing would have helped.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Brendan

      Travis: crime is down nationally despite much higher gun ownership. Stop passing off your version of the truth as factual, it's easily proven false. Sullivans law was passed in 1911, for the next 80 years crime EXPLODED in NYC only recently coming down because of changes in demographics and law enforcement.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cleophas

    My there soul rest in peace, there should be a kind of gun control or total barn on usage of guns by the civilians.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. mental health professional

    This is indeed a tragic event. I wish the victims and other effected by this event the best.

    From a mental health perspective, I am concerned that the major news coverage for events of this type may encourage more such incidents. Think back to the Colorado theater shooting. This appears (from the news) to have been a person whose life was crumbling and the shooting incident made him a nationally known figure. Deviant, yes. But, a notable figure who accomplished the most major thing of his life? Perhaps. There are other folks out there who could be desparatly seeking a attention and signfiicance to their lives. While most of us would not see this as adding signficince to life, a person who sees their life as hopeless or if they feel they have been maligned by society might resort to this type of behavior.

    CNN – please think of the future lives that might be saved by rethinking the ratings vs. public health ramifacations of overreporting on these issues.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Canadian Jim

    Yeah, yeah! People expressing their 2nd ammendment rights to keep that evil King from coming and invading the colonies! Wheee! Guns and guns and more guns. Whoo – hoo! Yippee It's the American way to blow innocent people's brains out. From Charlton Heston's cold dead hands, as soon as all the kiddies are dead.

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

      Let's see countries that have avoided invasion despite enemies that were quite willing too invade: Switzerland, Israel, U.S. Commonality: Enough arms for every adult citizen and firearms in most homes. Get a clue, gun rights don't just keep us safe from a 230 year old king. Tyranny is a modern phenomenon.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mr.Data

    i'll be surprised if this gunman is not yet another liinked to a mental illness (schizophrenia?) .

    Our cities and streets are filled with many fellow citizens in dire need of help..

    The easy solution is to always look to the symptom .. he used a gun; eliminate those guns. But he could have used a bomb, a car, a bad chemical, ect. sooner orlater we'regoing to have to wake up and address the problem of why these shooter snap and become killers.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. bxgrrl

    This is caused by our NRA manipulated gun loving violence saturated culture. It has to stop.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seansa

      Get a clue. Better yet, arm yourself so you aren't a sheep for the slaughter and then donate money to the NRA.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Brendan

      Really? I'd venture a guess that NRA member are 10 times less likely to commit a crime. In fact probably the only recent mass murderer who was a member was likely Tim McVeigh and he used a bomb. So there goes your dumb theory.

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

    Not Muslim But WHITE CHRISTIAN TERRORIST

    August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Leeford

    Too bad it wasnt terrorism. When its terrorist, we all come together as Americans. When it is anything other, we tear into each other like vultures.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • phoenix224

      It's terrorism but it just wasn't caused by an evil muslim it was caused by a conservative american.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. My_Mind_Speaks

    I'll bet ANYTHING that this was a wh¡te man...
    Wh¡te men have been flipping out lately...

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

      Well, OK, if you say racism is good, then we'll go with that. Just don't start crying about it later.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jonathan

    If I had read this story as recently as a year ago, my first reaction would be this was the work of a terrorist. Today my gut tells me this was a random psychotic American man. How sad.

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

    the guy was a fired security guard from there

    August 24, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. choward5400

    You take away psychos like these's guns, they'll build bombs or drive cars through crowds of people.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thecentrist11

      That's only planned-out crimes. Spur of the moment crimes would be severely diminished.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Seansa

      Yep.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Seansa

      Spur of the moment crimes won't happen when you take guns away? mmmk

      August 24, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • phoenix224

      We can easily identify people who are making homemade bombs but it is considered discrimination to investigate gun owners.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Guns4Life

      Your absolutely right. When a person makes that decision to cross that line to kill (revenge, spree, etc) they will find a way. It does not matter if they have a gun or not.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. seppe

    I am very sad for the victim. can anyone tell the reason ? so we can work on the issue to avoid this sort of things to happen.

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

    Is it no link to terrorism or is he not a muslim?

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

    lol, I figured when they said "no link to terrorism", that means "not muslim"...

    August 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.