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. Btrif

    Trained officers, in daylight, couldn't take this guy down without accidentially shooting people. However, according to some of you, the Colorado shooting would have been stopped inside a dark movie theater by armed citizens.

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

      Get the facts before spouting ignorance.

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

      Cops are not hired because they can shoot, they only need to qualify, and that is it. Why do you think they unload their weapon while shooting at a suspect? Most including myself, can shoot once and take down a person, rarely needing more shots to do it.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr. N

      Actually, the average gun owner is a much better shot than the average cop. There have been studies done, and it makes sense: The average gun enthusiasts shoots as a hobby, usually quite often. The average cop shoots only to re-qualify and keep his job.

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

      as a trained former deputy myself, I can say that these police officers broke 2 major safety laws and they should face consequences.

      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.

      In a theater, Your eyes adjust to the dark and you can see everything that goes on most of the time unless the screen goes dark. If the gunman thought for a minute that maybe 12 people in the theater were armed, Likely he would have planned something else and would not have gone on a slaughter. Pass all the laws you want. Bottom line, criminals are criminals because they do not obey the law. Period.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. boltuprite

    According to the story the gunman shot one, the cops shot nine.

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

      According to what story? The one you made up in your head?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brenda

    "Authorities say gunman who opened fire outside Empire State Building had been laid off from his job a year ago." This must be one of those "stop being lazy and get a job and stop collecting" people the Republicans are always talking about.

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

      BINGO!!!

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

      It's clear to me that this shooting is squarely Obama's fault. If he had actually managed to get the economy moving forward, this poor, misunderstood soul would not have been unemployed, therefore would not be disgruntled, therefore would not have tried to off his former coworker.

      Do you see how silly you look when you try to push politics into a non-political situation??? Go back to answering the phones at Obama campaign headquarters, and stay off the blogs.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Phil Thomas

    Cue the gun apologists, its funny we stand in Judgement of other countries but we have out own pimples. Disenfranchising voters, People letting the NRA run the country when were averaging a shoot out a week, this is the greatest country in the world. People just need to Vote and stop letting Lobbyists run the country, I hope people send a message to the RNC if for any reason to watch the Koch brothers, Adelson and all these other losers who think they can buy the country flush their money down the toilet.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Grizite mi Kurac i Muda

    A real tragedy WAS averted: imagine what would have happened if he also had a LARGE SODA??

    I guess all is NOT fine in the bloomberg caliphate.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. Edward C

    As a RESPONSIBLE conceal carry holder, I was taught do not shoot if innocent people are in the way! I guess they don't teach that at the Police Academy...

    August 24, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. Michael

    Cops should have done a better job identifying their targets. Trained cops should not open up in crowded settings. This from an Army veteran of Iraq–Military Police.

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

      Can't say I disagree, BUT, find me a place in New York city, during daylight hours, that doesn't have people nearby.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. earl snyder

    My heartfelt sympathy to the families of the shooting victims!!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. redONE

    the world is over populated with not enough resources to go around. With less pie to eat others will suffer who lets everyone keep breeding in record numbers. I do not understand some animal species now have a cap on how many they can breed i think the world has reached its peak population to where it is unhealthy to have very much more before we collapse. people call the cops because they have guns to protect us just like they did today in NY guns save and they take away but what it really comes down to is not enough bread for everyone.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. RB

    Back to the firing range for some retraining

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

    I'm so sure Jesus would be pro-gun! Right wing = self defeating

    August 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. human liberal

    whatever uneducated gun owners.... imagine Casey Anthony with a gun or a pedophile, no civilian shd have guns!!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Buzz

    Wonder if Brian Ross over at NBC jumped on the wed to see if he could make any connection of this guy to the Tea Partry like he tried to do with the Colorado shooter?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. Grizite mi Kurac i Muda

    I guess bloomberg's gun laws didn't stop him, did they?

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

      Ah, so clearly the solution is to throw MORE guns into the environment. Obviously nothing bad could ever come from that, right?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. perennial2

    Nope, just another American man who is a failure at life and shoots innocent people who aren't. This country is full of men like that.

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