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. Boondoggle

    Those debating the gun control issue with statements like...

    "Considering how more people die every year in automotive accidents than in gun-related deaths/crimes, would you be in favor of banning cars?"

    I moronic philsophy to an issue that has to be address with a clear head and constructive ideas!

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

      U r so stupid to compare apple and orange. Do you know the word " intend" and the word accident?

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

      So you don't believe that if this lunatic had accelerated his car to say 60 or 70 mph into this same crowd of people, he wouldn't have killed at least 1 and injured at least 10? My guess is that there would have been more fatalities with a car than there obviously was with these guns you fear so much.

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

      U tell me people use car to run over people to kill them, when they don't like the other person

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

      The reality of the situation is that guns are totally outlawed already in NYC, you cannot own or carry a handgun legally within city limits. That being the case, what further laws could prevent this? Even the total outlawing of guns in the city does not stop those who seek to do harm with them (guns) from obtaining and using them in their crimes. Taking away the rights of masses of people in order to stop the one or two who would do harm is neither effective or a rational response to the actions of the few who would do wrong.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • human liberal

      u know what maybe u shd stay at home then. don't leave your house ever, that way the car accident thing won't happen...paranoid freak

      August 24, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sid

    sure people can own guns.. only if they shoved them up their a*** and pull the trigger

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

    Mr. Ku-Klux-Klanner those were shot by 19 different pigs like you. Show me another mass killing where more than 10 people were killed.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Alex

    Hit and run baby, hit and run...

    August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. COCO the monkey

    So a guy shoots 1 man, and the cops shoot 8 citizens makes sense right? great job america

    August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • OMG

      Thank you, we have been trying to do great before you were born

      August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. eastcoast Mike

    This week's shooting brought to you by the good people of the NRA.....Remember, The only way to solve to gun problem is to get more guns!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. jrh

    Nobody got shot before Obama? Really?

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

    conservatives are the ones who love guns

    August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. My you have a "large gun", why thank you!

    The suspect had a "large gun," a witness told CNN. Really? You can't report specifically what kind of gun? Was it a Desert Eagle (hand cannon size of a handgun), a hunting shotgun (long barrel), an AK-47 variant or maybe he had a M60 machine gun? All these witnesses, and no one knows nothing about guns to describe it better than that?

    I find it strange he killed one woman and chased after a guy to shoot him specifically. Maybe it was his wife and her lover going to see the sights and he found out about it and the rest of the victims are just collateral damage? Otherwise if he was just angry/depressed/crazy, he could have done a lot more damage driving his car into the same crowd at a high rate of speed.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • perennial2

      You watch too much tv. The crazy shooter was a former employee fired a year ago but holding a grudge. Good he's dead and can't harm anyone else.

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

    Note to self: Dont go to NYC, b/c their "gun control" doesnt seem to be working to well.

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

      Ban guns will do

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

    What a tool. Bloomberg ends his talk by saying, "There's a lot of guns out there." As if the gun magically sprouted legs and a will of its own, and decided to commit mayhem. That's Bloomie's mentality. An intelligent person would have said, "There are a lot of troubled people out there." But of course, being logical would rob him of the chance to posture for personal political gain.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Boondoggle

    Turn off Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and think with your own brain!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Z666

    *What a waste of ammunition*... he only managed to kill 1 out of 9. Arabs are so much more efficient and not wasteful of resources such as ammo... The US Department of War should mandate that all wannabe killers enlist for a minimum of 6-months to become proficient marksman.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Edward C

      No, I think he killed his one target. I bet the other 9 were shot by the cowboy cops when they blindly opened fire, and forgot to check if any innocent people were out of the way...

      August 24, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Z666

      Edward C: Good Point. NYPD, guilty to proven innocent – or dead.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. bat

    Aren't guns already controlled in NYC? How did this happen? How very strange!

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

      Probably came from Virginia. Make ya feel better?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • T

      It is illegal there to have a firearm with few exceptions. This man did not obey the law! OMG! Maybe they should make a law requiring people to obey the law. That would work. I am sure criminals would then obey the laws. Or, gosh, maybe let all law abiding citizens be armed and be able to fight back and defend themselves. If that guy thought maybe 10 people around him might be packing heat, he maybe would have gone about the situation differently. Maybe getting the guy at his house instead of a busy downtown area where innocent bi-standers would be. Na, we need many many more laws as that is the solution to all our problems.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • bat

      I was being sarcastic. I am in Idaho and have plenty of guns. Of course only criminals do things like this and it is amazing to see the number of people clambering to have guns taken away. Well, if you want to shiver in your homes while the wolves lurk outside you are welcome to, I will fire back.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Against Gunviolence

    New York City police officers should not be allowed to carry firearms.

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

      A week or 2 ago I read about a western city where 6 cops fired 46 shots to kill a man armed with a knife. Watched the vid. They were out of control. Be surprised here if bystanders weren't hit by cops. Also be surprised if it's not covered up.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • T

      2ond gun safety law: Never let the muzzle cover anything you are NOT willing to destroy.
      4th gun safety law: Be sure of your surroundings, as well as the background and beyond.

      They evidently don't consider other people anything to be concerned about.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
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