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. Really?

    @Joe.

    Take a pill Joe. It was a disgruntled employee who got fired. Neither race not religion had anything to do with it. How dare you take it in that direction. It's inflammatory, irresponsible and uneducated comments like this that are dividing us. Together we stand, divided we fall. Looks like you made your choice.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. TparTpatriot

    Why is it that liberals keep killing people like this? What is wrong with them?

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

      Xould have been a conservative. Who are you to ay that the shooter was a liberal?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Spencer

    This is a perfect example of why American gun law changes would have little to no effect on these types of situations. The man that broke into the Batman movie and this guy would have found a way to harm those innocent people regaurdless of what was available to them. Think if they would have simply detonated a bomb, it would have killed many more people and hurt many others.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. acCLE

    "There is no apparent link to terrorism, a law enforcement official said" – Can someone define what is terrorism then ??? A crackhead appears outside of one of the greatest landmark of the nation and starts shooting randomly – if this is is not terrorism then what will be called a terrorism. Is terrorism is only defined as when a asian guy (more specifically Muslim) does the same thing ? This kind of perception by the authorities is spreading more hatred in the people. Terrorism is terrorism irrespective of committed by whatever was the criminals skin color period.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. gatecrasher1

    Gangsta thug, probably. Looks like he targeted the first vic and the rest were collateral.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. m

    This is all the LIBERAL media trying to get gun control legislation passed which I hate even though statistics show crime rates are less in states with very moderate legislation on the books (like banning assault weapons).... YEEEEEAAAAAHAW!!! aMURica! USA USA USA!!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Joyce

      The only gun contraol we need is on automatic ones. No hunter or target shooter needs them. We don't need them to protect ourselves. The only way we can get rid of them is make it illegal to make them. Law inforcement don't need them either which is one of the arguments I have heard. The armed forces are the only people that need them.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tony G

    The elevator worker is a champion, how many of us would actually chase down a gunman?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. TheEndIsNear

    Gun legislation is a no... no... we need MORE guns to defend ourselves against these Republicans.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    Guns don't kill people. 16-ounce sodas do.

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

      According to that Jackwagon Mayor of New York everything is now put your diaper sit down and shut up before you hurt yourself.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. euphoni

    F a l s e f l a g

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

      Your tin hat is a little loose. You might want to tighten it up there.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Thoughts are with the victims.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. Veritas

    If only NYC had stricter gun control laws–then this NEVER would have happened.

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

      Or stronger anti-murder laws. Since those obviously don't work, the inescapable conclusion is to do away with anit-murder laws, righ?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Justen

    This story is a LIE-it is IMPOSSIBLE because the state of New York and the city of New York have some of THE STRICTEST GUN CONTROL in the nation–and we all know that CRIMINALS will always obey the law..Therefore this story IS a LIE..it has to be or it bursts yet again the gun control myth that more gun control makes us safer...

    Take a gun off the streets–buy one today.

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

      Nothing is stopping people from other areas from bringing guns in their cars. Also, if someone is willing to use a gun to kill others then that same person isn't above buying guns on the black market.

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

      Criminals don't do mass shootings, duh. Christians do.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Justen

      NYS law stops people from bringing guns even in their cars...perhaps you should take a look at the actual gun laws in NYS and NYC in particular.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dustin

    Sounds like the shooter was after a particular person to be gunned down,shots were fired by the gunman who chased down his intended victim , shot him in the head. People freaked out and in return he started shooting everyone around him until the police answered with gunfire. At least there will be no wasteful trial.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. Al

    Humm so we don't need gun control? How many deaths will it take till the idiotic GUN HAPPY morons who think all freedoms reside on having a gun will figure this out. We need better gun control, background checks. Not saying that it would of stopped this guy but also saying it would greatly decrease the chance. If you go back and look at the reports were there was random shootings, there is usually a connection with a psychologist report, some offical organziton knew of the unstability of the person. OH before anyone screams 2nd Amendment.. if you really read it right and with a clear mind. The original 2nd Amendment DOES NOT gaurantee your right to bear arms but in only case for militia purposes. The Supreme Court has ruled with this ..do some research. Also, FYI, if Chicago decides to ban handguns and public vote says okay.. guess what. 2nd Amendment does not stand because local governments have the right to repeal the 2nd Amendment IF the safety of its people outweighs the right. NRA can't do anyting about it. I hope Chicago DOES ban handguns or any guns in the city limits.

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

      @ AL and all of those calling for stricter gun laws. New york and Chicago have some of the nations strictest gun laws, chicago has had over 330 murders this year. see when you start to regulate who has guns, you leave your population defenseless. Gun control worked well for Hitler, Stalin, Mussolinni, Kim jong, and other tyrants. Seems like thes gun free zones are anything but. but then Liberals always think that criminals will obey the law

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