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. Jacob

    When will you people realize that the second amendment has nothing to do with gun ownership.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • NYC

      So what does it have to do with? Do tell, your explanation will fascinate the rest of us.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. nyker

    legal guns has nothing to do with that. to all you morons screaming "ban all guns", it will give crooks more power. are you stupid? are you really beleive police will come and put their lifes before yours? just a bunch of stupid Bloomy supporters.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • gmenfan54

      Gun control is just another "political football" that is tossed around in an election year.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Josh

    Private ownership of guns is a good thing. If you ban the ownership of guns the criminals will still be able to get them. Another positive thing about gun ownership is that we will never be attacked on our own soil and if we are then we will have a means to defend ourselves. Private hunters and gun owners just in the USA make up the largest fighting force in the world.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Jersey George

      9/11 wasn't an attack on our soil?

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

    Guns don't kill people. People kill people. NYC already has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • kflanigan

      Yes N.Y. has stringent gun laws but the guns used to commit crimes are coming from states like VA.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      @ kflanigan

      It doesn't matter if the gun came from VA or Zimbabwe. It is illegal to carry a gun in NYC. So the point stands. Gun control laws are useless when it comes to criminals such as this guy.

      August 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. kflanigan

    Good one

    August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Pete

    God bless the NRA...I am a life long member and support them 100% They fight for MY rights to be armed. Hey if these 5 people were armed this outcome would have been much different. Same in Colorado, Sweden, etc....arm everyone!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I doubt the outcome would have been different because it sounds like it happened fast and it sounds like the gunman was killed anyhow. Nevertheless, citizens rights should not be limited due to the actions of criminals and crazy people.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • kflanigan

      child like

      August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • RobFLA

      I believe that most law abiding citizens should have a right to own a gun. The only dilemma I have is when bring up past events like the Colorado movie theater shooting, Sweden, etc... Is that if we were all armed & a shooting occurred in a public gathering the confusion & the sight of every person pulling out their guns to confront the shooter, the collateral damage from everybody shooting would cause total chaos & possibly more people would get hurt. Also, it would be hard to identify who are the bad guys & who are the good guys until the all the smoke is cleared, so to speak.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. MrRadioActive

    interesting how ALL of the cities/municipalities that have GUN control & bans have the HIGHEST CRIME RATES IN THE NATION. That alone says it all – responsible gun owners are not more dangerous then responsible soda drinkers, except in NYC.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    I used to think that gun control was the answer. It seems to make common sense. More gun control, means less guns, means harder access to guns, means less gun crime. It seems so simple at first, but it might be a lot more complicated than this and the scientific data has not borne this simplistic thinking out. Its hard to justify restricting the rights of the general population because of the actions of criminals and crazy people.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Ban alll guns forget being able to protect ourselves or families. Yeah yeah lets blame obama for some idiots moron decision whose prolly a mental patient. how about we blame the person who did the crime and not eveyone in governent. Goverment dont put guns in peoples hands people do.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Annie

    Banning guns is not the answer. Creating stricter rules for those you sell them and imposing stronger penalties for those you have and sell them illegally, might be a good start. The sad reality is…firearms and hate will always exist.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • sevenseas

      New York City already has some of the strictest gun laws out there. Those did not stop the shooting.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. Simon

    Ban Guns? Let's ban cars too while we are at it. Cars kill more people everyday than all guns combined. Damn communist.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. dave

    Dont ban guns. Ban people. A gun on a table by itself cant hurt anyone.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. nyker

    if people would be able to carry guns in NYC, only gunmen would be dead......

    August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. USObserver

    This will no doubt raise the temperature of all the gun-toting 2nd Amendment rights activists, but you're "guns for all" rights were written a looooong time ago for a country with a couple of hundred million LESS people. At the time the government was not very strong, and the only reason they gave you the right to bear arms was to appease the masses, so they wouldn't rise up against the new democracy. Now, it's just ridiculous. They WILL come for your guns. The south WILL fall again.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. NYC

    Not for anything, those that call for MORE GUN LAWS seem to ignore that criminals tend to IGNORE laws. Imagine if everyone had guns (licensed/training) they guy would have been SHOT quickly and probably taken LESS lives.

    No....lets make more laws for criminals that don't follow them to begin with so only the law-abiding citizens don't have guns. Makes perfect sense in a looney liberal's mind.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      Yeah because I would love to carry a gun everyday like I carry a cell phone. Give me a break, it's not the wild west. Let's say someone comes upon a shooting where you they see you take down a crazy gunman. Since everyone is allowed to carry a gun, what's going to to stop anyone from shooting you thinking that you're the one who's on a murder rampage?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
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