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. january

    Sad to hear this. Seem more and more crazy people out there now days running amok killing others or killing them self like no body business. Wasted human life.
    To a believer you know life and death is in God hand. Prayers wont stop you still from dying but you know your soul is with god and rest in peace.
    To the unbeliever,you walk on god earth like you own it ,you still will die but your soul be wondering eternally.
    Still argue about this than just sit back and think hard about life and death. Unfortunately for some, busy glittering material world have blind many to stop and think what wrong have they done to their soul, until death come.
    Prayers to the lost soul.
    Ps,
    Human creation is not what killed but what human used it to killed and how.

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

      Seems like the breakdown of the family and devaluing of men as fathers and husbands by women is causing a lot of problems. The old days were way better.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Doc Magnus

      @Kurt – Yes, the conservatives answer to everything, keep the women barefoot and pregnant. And lower taxes. Charge full speed into the 19th century.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • But...

      Kurt, so there was no violence like the KKK or the Holocaust back when women were homemakers?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Edward C

    What if in the end we find out that the co-worker was the only one shot by the man, and everyone else was shot by the police? This is exactly the reason no conceal carry holder (many were present at Gifford's shooting) did not open fire! There are people in the way!!!!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sid

    I was visiting the empire state building only last week. There were lot of tourists..What a shame

    August 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rob

    This isn't a story so much about 2nd amendment rights but about treating people with respect. We learn so many valuable lessons in early childhood about socialization about treating people the way we want ourselves to be treated. Unfortunately, this person could have done the same amount of carnage with a bomb, acid, knives, what have you. As a society, we really need to reach out and help those that are in need rather than assume its best if everyone fends for themselves. If we don't show compassion for others, we will be taught that other golden lesson: karma.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Konoka

      I agree! I don't think kids here are taught enough of that in school these days.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. WDinDallas

    Boy, those pro-gun cowboys in New York are really scary.....snicker

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. thetruth

    9 times out of 10 the ppl the black ppl shot they knew them.. 9 times out of 10 the ppl the white person shot he didn't know them at all.. he just had a bad day and decided he was gone kill 10 innocent ppl!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joe

    Some people may have been accidentally shot by police officers. So now the anti-gun nuts are going to say we should take away cops' guns too, right?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • chicago2010

      No. It shows that even trained police officers cannot shoot without killing friendlies. And most gun-owners do not have a clue and are pretty bad at shooting – just shows that having more guns on streets will only harm more people, not protect them.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. Babs

    ..Crazy Americans, white, black, yellow – except native Americas, all the rest are just bunch of Crazy citizens as hell !!!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • boltuprite

      Why not native Americans? Because no one used a bow and arrow?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. JoMomma

    ***Insert pointless Gun Control comment here***

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. robert

    don't you love Bloomberg last stament theres a lot of guns out there.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    Some people may have been accidentally shot by police officers. So now the anti-gun nuts are going to say we should take away cops' guns too, I guess.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Don in Washington

      *Some* people? No, 90% of the victims were shot by the cops.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Issues with Chinamen

    You are a sick little kid and one of the primary reasons this world is so damaged.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. poor reporting

    Once again, CNN gets it wrong. Hazan Imports was not inside the Empire Statue Building, it was on W 33rd. The Empire State Building played no role in the shooting other than its being nearby.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • SirToYou

      Not surprised by the bad reporting.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. falseflagz

    Who done it this time?

    A truther?
    Bither?
    A veteran?

    Another false flag so a gun grabbing ban is passed

    August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. OMG

    Is a merican what do you expect? We all go buy gun and shoot, and kill. Are you mad? go to gun store and get one, just like buy a gallon of milk

    August 24, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • RandyMarshCT

      That's not true. Handguns are illegal in New York City, they HAVE gun control. See how well it works?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • SirToYou

      RandyMarshCT: Who says the gun was purchased in New York? It could have been LEGALLY purchased in a nearby jurisdiction. It's not like its hard to do. Keep holding your empty bag, teabagger, and rationalizing this insanity.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:52 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