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. Jeff

    Wow! So another idiot decides he wants to end his life but go out famous. And surprisingly all the major news outlets are giving him his wish. Here is a thought. Ban all guns except shot guns. Can still defend your home and fantasize that your stocking up on them to defend yourself against a government that has drones with smart bombs. Just can't hide one in your pocket and have to reload after two shots. And just maybe a little journalistic integrity instead of using these defects for ratings

    August 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. EMILY

    IIT'S A SHAME THAT PEOPLE ARE SO TROUBLE IN THERE MINDS THAT THEY FEEL THIS IS THE ANSWER!!!
    HELP! NEW YORK CITY NEEDS HELP.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • 1centFree

      Wake up! THE WORLD needs help. Not just NYC.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. 1centFree

    If only everyone was allowed to carry around an AK-47, this would never have happened. :o|

    August 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • us_1776

      You'd just have 100 accidental shootings occur every single day.

      .

      August 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • 1centFree

      It's called sarcasm. :|

      August 24, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Hahahahahaha

    A gun is an object. It requires a person to do anything besides lie there. Guns do not kill people, people off their nut do.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Issues with Chinamen

      True, but allowing that tool into the hands of a lone nut can allow said nut to injure or kill even more.

      Why can't you nutbags see this?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dwight Gordon

    Well, you did it again. You made me switch to Fox. They were the only network that turned away from this incomplete story and went on with their programming. Why do you constantly beat a story to death with "experts" who don't know anything and giving out information that is unconfirmed and basically wrong. You are becoming a joke.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Rocker

    What? How this happen? Guns are off limits in NYC. Oh, right, evil people can still get them to kill the unarmed good people. Nice Utopia there liberals.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. us_1776

    Has anyone seen Judge Head today?

    .

    August 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. WorriedCitizen

    I just keep wondering why there has been such a spike in shootouts. Is it the economy or the negative ads making people more depressed leading them to take such actions. Yes we can get guns pretty easily, but I cannot remember this kind of a shooting spree ( Somebody can jog my memory). Any other reason out there?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. open400

    Obama and/or Romney have to speak out on this issue. There has been about one shooting a week.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • OMG

      Daily, is american, duh

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

      They won't. The NRA will immediately start whining that these men are going to take away everyone's guns, which means that Obama's and Romney's campaigns will be finished. The most we'll get is hand-wringing about how this has no place in our society, as if they could stop one person from getting mad enough at another to shoot him.

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

    Shocking that this happened in a gun free zone. Seems to be par for the course.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • OMG

      Who know we can't carry gun in gun free zone? Unless you start shoot if not NO ONE WOULD KNOW DUH

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

    Despite all the comments to the contrary, guns are the problem! 

    August 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      Explain your logic, NYC has the strictest gun control laws in the country. I've lost two people close to me in my life at the hands of evil men wielding guns. I don't blame the guns, I blame the men who pulled the trigger. I have a gun, and a conceal carry license. I'm not giving it up for anything. What's it gonna take for people like yourself to realize that it's pointless to implement gun bans.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • ladyfonseca

      A gun CANNOT kill a person, however a person CAN pull the trigger of a gun causing the bullet to KILL! PEOPLE are the problem.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Issues with Chinamen

      Nate,

      If you cannot see this (with your alleged loss of friends to weapons) you never will.

      /like showing a dog a card trick.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Kelly51

      I have a gun and it has never killed anyone or anything except for a rattlesnake or two, that's it. I also have softball bats, shovels, an iron skilllet, steak knives galore and a large cutlury set that has never been use to kill, injure or mame anyone or anything. Do you suppose that's because my belongings don't have minds of their own or is because my mind is intact?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. History Bear

    Yeah cops. Saved the City the expense of a trial for some dirt bag.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. BoThome

    Yet another story for antigun activists to shake their fists at. Why can't people see it's the bad economy and the desperate/angry/depressed/crazy people that we need to better help/regulate, and not the tool that happened to be used?

    On the bright side, the idiot could have drove his truck at a high speed into the same crowd of people and just as likely kill more than 1 person. He might even still be alive because it would have been initially looked as an accident instead of a mass murder attempt, and therefore the cops wouldn't have shot him on sight for brandishing a steering wheel.

    If someone is angry/sad/insane enough, they'll find a way to kill, regardless of how illegal it is to kill or how illegal it is to own something that can be used to kill.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • OMG

      is the best way to do it, get the gun and shoot

      August 24, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • greg

      Most people are either stupid or crazy. To many guns... not enough guns..... love the argument. "if somebody wants to kill people they will find away to do it without a gun" ..... so why make it harder for them? ...."stupid or crazy".

      August 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. Blondie

    Domestic terrorism is far more a risk than Al Q and the Talibany.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. grafittix

    CNN, please stop identifying this "Rebecca Fox" person as "Witnessed shooting". She saw people running a block away, didn't even HEAR the gunshots.
    I hate these overly eager man-on-the-street interviews – anyone who has salient information about an active investigation should be talking to the police, not CNN.

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