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. marycontrary

    My suggestion to end Chicago's out of control shootings (19 shot in 8 hrs yesterday): invite all gangs to one mass shoot out. Isolate them. Let them take each other out. No innocent by standers hurt. They are so bent on shooting rival gangs, make it easy for them. Gangpalooza, all gang bangers invited. Bring your guns (as if they need to be asked). Have at it. What a lovely dream....

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

      This didn't happen in Chicago though.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • marycontrary

      @Rae I know it didn't happen in chicago. Just sayin

      August 24, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Wiburrr

    I'm not surprised more of these crimes are occurring. It is usually because of the economic downturn that people are resorting to violence. As a person's economic situation deteriorates, that person is more likely to turn to extremism.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • mj2280

      @Wilburr – And what empirical evidence do you have to support that this is a result of economic downturn? I have not seen any empirical research that shows violent shootings follow economic downturns. Higher levels of theft/burglary tend to follow economic downturn, but violence tends to be related to other factors. It is always more complex than just one variable leads to another.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • watchdogg2007

      That's BS their economics had nothing to do with these shooting, the guy in Colorado wasn't having financial issues he was a college student studying engineering. The skinhead had been crazy for years. I guess they are broke, so they decided the best way to fix this is to take their grocery money and buy thousands of dollars worth of firearms. I have another thirty. How about theory are just crazy cowards. Oh that doesn't make sense.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. Marty in MA

    sickening.

    NRA reaction?

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

      NRA reaction Marty is probably along the lines of: How's that gun ban working out Bloomberg? Oh wait there was a shooting and the man has to be chased away by a brave unarmed guard? Not well I guess.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • TonyH110

      nothing to do with the NRA – New York is a gun free zone

      August 24, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. erunestruzzastudios

    Not quite sure what you are talking about. New York, and in particular NYC has one of the toughest gun laws in the nation with a police force probably second to none....Take your politics out of it, nuts will find a way to do what they do, and no law on the books meet that end....

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

      But they still need to get access to guns. Have you tried to get 5 lb's of plastic explosives on line recently?

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

      Tony ya don't need high tech explosives to hurt people. That's just naive.

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

      it's not about NY's gun laws its about the other states that NYers get guns from with lax laws and then are sold illegally. Everyday there seems to be some sort of shooting in the country. Who are we protecting by not strengthening gun laws? This is insane! I guess when enough "regular" citizens are murdered it will be addressed.

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

      You need guns or explosives to hurt more than one person at a time, before you can be brought down by unarmed bystanders.

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

      @newyork, that's exactly the point. "THEY" will get guns somewhere else.

      Outlawing guns will not stop the glorification f violence in he USA.

      Outlawing lorification of violence in music and movies will have a far quicker impact.

      Did the legal speed limit keep you from speeding to work this morning?

      We have a world culture of disrespect for the law, at all levels., from the top down to the least.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. euphoni

    FALSE FLAG

    August 24, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. bahhb66

    Not A chance of taking that bet,we know he is white by the code words,terrorism not involved.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. wyoming guy

    think about it people...... when have you seen a gun stand up by itself and shoot a couple rounds into grandma????
    NEVER.
    STUPID INSANE MORONS shoot people for no good reason except they are sad cause someone made fun of them or saw it in a movie.
    Society should fight back,its OUR right to bare arms,period.

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

      It is obviously stupid to think that giving people guns won't cause them to use them. These mass murders will continue to happen until we get rid of guns. I must admit I am not shocked that someone from Wyoming would say something like this though. Is your neck red?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • tp1776

      STUPID INSANE MORONS want to put guns in the hands of STUPID INSANE MORONS who will use those guns to murder people. What part of this don't you understand?

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

      If Semtex was as available as guns are, there would be bombings daily in every town in the US.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. jo smo

    i thought having a gun in NYC was already banned, I guess this proves gun control doesn't work at any level. Criminals will get a gun if they want one.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Wallster

    Allowing unstable citizens to arm themselves with military assault rifles and semi automatic handguns (who are increasingly shooting people in public venues), lowering middle class workers wages, cutting social safety net funding, writing hundreds of bills to control womens reproductive rights, placing voter suppression laws in place, limiting healthcare availability, and cutting all enviromental regulations. Congratulations GOP, you're plan to regress the US into a bloody third world Country with a clear division of wealthy and poor citizens is coming to reality.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chappy

      Wallster, it's true much of today's violence can be blamed on wall streets tanking the world economy, but just as much cn be blamed on Obama rewarding them for it with bailouts and bonuses.

      However, it's both parties. Romney will sell what remains of personal wealth and Obama will give it away for free to foreign interests. He just gave 1.5 million jobs to foreigners and now drivers licenses as well.

      Both parties will contribute to the violence of displaced Americans scrw-dover by their "representatives".

      August 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. tp1776

    thank you for this overlooked news MyFeelsMatter. Scorecard Update: NRA +19, people -19

    August 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. No

    How do you know they were Christian?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. choward5400

    We need to start a government program that starts evaluating suspected psychos. What's all this NSA money going towards?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. News Reader

    "no apparent link to terrorism" – If this is not terrorism, I don't know what is. I think these "news" organizations need to get their head out of you know what, and start reporting news as they are.

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

    This the NRA's way of making sure there are more seats available for US citizens on international flights

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

    CNN is racist, doesn't report the 19 shootings by blacks in Chicago yesterday.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chappy

      No, shooting poor black people is never reported. Same with abducting one of their kids, you have to be a blue-eyed blond to be their news poster missing child.

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