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. gmenfan54

    I'm leaving the house. Where's my bullet proof vest?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. AZLib

    I expect we will see statements from the NRA that if everybody in NYC had an uzzi this would not have happened.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Don in Washington

      Who needs an Uzi when the NYPD can shoot so many bystanders with their Glocks?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Justen

    And Kristin–I take it you are not a Christian...Muslims, Atheists and a number of other groups also murder...you don't need a religious affiliation to commit murder or mayhem...just take a look at Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia–Soviet Russia was atheist...religion was at one point an underground movement...and the Russian government did quite well at murdering its' own citizens...the US is no better.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Don in Washington

    So the mayor opens and closes his comments with his usual rants about gun violence. Now it turns out that 90% of those who were shot were killed or wounded by two police officers blasting away on a crowded city street.

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

      AND handguns are illegal in New York City... just like Chicago and Washington DC. It seems to be working really well in all 3 cities.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Errr...

    so one guy starts shooting...all these "gun owners" bust out weapons to "defend themselves" and then when the police get there it's like a scene out of the wild west...

    ...you own a gun...you deserve to get shot.

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

      Really, I am not sure how that works. I have multiple guns and have never shot at anyone nor has anyone shot at me. Care to explain your position a little further.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Don in Washington

      Nobody "busted out guns" except the NYPD who shot and wounded or killed all but one of those hit. Bad guy shot one. Cops shot all the rest.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • iamdan

      Where is Brian Ross? This story needs the BRIAN ROSS angle.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • a gun owner

      actually, it turned into the wild west when the police showed up.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. just a cop

    Why didn't any of the reporters ask the mayor what would have happened if all the cops would have been on strike like he suggested about a month ago?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. euphoni

    Very strange... And doesn't make sense. This guy was fired A YEAR AGO. Something's up

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

      False
      Flag.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • J

      He was a slow planner.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike Bronx NY

    You know the drill people: "Let's calm down, this is not the time to talk about guns control, same thing could have happened using a home made explosive device blah blah blah blah" ..... ahhhh Republicans, when will they learn? 😦

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

      Handguns are illegal in New York. How do you explain this?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • tsaoutofourpants

      You're an idiot. NYC *has* gun control. "Somehow," the criminals still get guns, and once again, the citizens are prohibited from defending themselves.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • jnpa

      They will NEVER learn!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • SirToYou

      Randy: The gun was purchased legally, bet your life on it . Same as the one(s) in Colorado. Many Police feel the NRA is a CRIMINAL organization.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. us_1776

    Nice.

    This guy shoots a coworker and then the police open fire and hit 8 innocent bystanders with their crossfire.

    How about using rubber bullets to disabled people like this and not endanger innocent bystanders?

    .

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

      Sorry to tell you this smart guy, but the police don't just walk around armed with a large variety of ammo to fit the perfect world scenario. Sometimes bad things happen because bad people do bad things. This doesn't mean we turn into Europe and hold the hands of criminals and feel "safer".

      August 24, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • SirToYou

      Don: Bad things happen because incompetents are on the police force.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dude

    Gotta be Bush's fault somehow...media searching for Tea Party affiliation now I'm sure...

    August 24, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. fidup

    What is Racist about that... why don't people start worrying about the real things in life instead of taking every opportunity to cry Racism,, its just so....1960's...

    August 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. ggg

    that darn obama economy again....go figure

    August 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Justin

    Updated at 11:26 a.m. ET] A disgruntled former employee of a business inside the Empire State Building shot a former coworker in the head in a dispute outside the building, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

    ....Bloomberg just said Hazen Imports, the business that the shooter worked at WAS NOT located inside the Empire State Building

    August 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jenny Sills

    Just hard that the shooter was a former co worker of one of the people he was shooting at. Gee I thought I had worked in a hostile work situation. At least Toni and Judy did not pack heat!!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. OMG

    Move away and clear the street so people can move. There is no news here. is America, got it

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