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. G-MAN

    Another proud moment for the NRA

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

    No ideology involved... More like disgruntled citizen gets cheated on by girlfriend.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    You people are joking, I assume. If you don't understand (1) the difference from a ban of handguns in NYC and a law preventing the purchase of handguns anywhere; (2) that making it illegal to purchase handguns would greatly reduce shooting because PEOPLE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO BUY GUNS, then you're actually fools. Making heroin illegal reduces the number of heroin users.

    And for the guy who's worried about armed thugs in your house? I guess you'd get shot. Luckily, that isn't likely to happen to you. Nobody wants to rob your trailer.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. euphoni

    This is a governmental false flag attack aimed at us citizens to make us scred of guns

    August 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. Over 70

    Three cheers for the NRA and guns!

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

      Absolutely!! Cause when the thugs start shooting we can protect ourselves.

      Perhaps we can do the politically incorrect and lock up lunatics. Instead of thinking the psycho babble ndustry ever actulaly cures any of them.

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

      The NRA? Really?

      Guns are illegal in New York, over the NRA's objections, and violence still happens there. The only thing that New York gun control accomplished is disarming the victims.

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

      Too bad the gunman didn't realize that NYC has stiff restrictions on carrying weapons. I bet if he'd known about their strict gun laws, this never would have happened.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. The Truth

    Yup, more of the "lone wolf" meme will be coming soon. Just another "asset" doing the will of the NWO. Just watch it now, Bloomberg will "save us" from ourselves again with more nanny state crap!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. HJon

    I bet another WHITE MAN!!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. California

    OWS at it again.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      right... because OWS people sure do love their guns. why don't you wait for the bodies to cool before spewing baseless allegations

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

    I am trying to remember the last time there was a shooting like this in the UK ? if you make guns illegal other than to those who really need them you can enforce much harsher penalties for carrying \ possession. The majority of gun crime is perpetrated against other criminals so you restrict the control of guns you eliminate a large amount of the ambiguous shootings that occur in the US. You will never 100pcnt stop these crimes but stricter control will surely help reduce them.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      "a majority of crimes are perpetrated against other criminals" so you're saying all these people in line were criminals? And as another poster stated, NYC has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States: it is illegal to carry or transport any loaded firearm in the city unless you're a cop. A lot of good those laws did for that one woman who tragically lost her life. You're right, you're never going to eliminate these types of crimes, but I think a lawfully armed citzen should have the right to shoot back. Making guns illegal only takes them away from the law-abiding citizens; you think criminals care about gun laws? The only reason there weren't more victims is because that area is CRAWLING with cops. Otherwise, we'd have a different story here, one that could have ended better with an armed ctizen.

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

      Tell me more about how criminals follow the law...

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

      And for those people who fall under the "Failure to stop 100% of gun-crimes", I guess we'll just sit there and wave our Johnson's at the Bad Guys. Assault with a Friendly Weapon?

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

      The US is much larger than the UK, it doesn't make sense to compare and is ignorant.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jim Brody

    The gunman was white? I must've missed this fact. And how do the authorities know this is not related to "terrorism" already? Come on reporters, dig!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. RandomCOguy

    Oh lordy!! I can just hear bloomberg now.."We must get rid of ALL guns for your safety!" They will stop at nothing to see us defenseless and vaulnerable.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. Marge Gaidemak

    To: YourBusiness, I live in poverty stricken upstate NY too. But all we have to do is drive down the road to bag our dinner. No guns,no hard work. Just very expensive car insurance.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Deuce3355

    OMG can you people blow a homicide out of proportion or what? While the person who was killed was a tragic event, the shooter was also killed, which means an easy case clearance for some Murder Police. And then you say that the president was notified of this event...WHY!!!!!! I gues you better tell him of a homicide that occurreed in Miami, or Dallas or San Diego also...And then you continually keep updating and having "special reports".....once again WHY!!!!!! It was just a homicide people, Damn

    August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • nmand

      This is not a standard homicide. Perhaps this guy had an agenda for killing one person, but if that was the case, you dont randomly shoot 9 others. This was a terrible terrible act, and yes, the president should know about it

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

    Is this the start of the civil war?!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. Disgusted

    @mental health professional
    I completely agree!!

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