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. newyorker

    Just watched Bloomberg speak. This gunman shot and killed his former manager and walked away. He was then stopped by the cops, took out his gun again...but there is no confirmation on wether he fired at them or not....but the cops did, MEANING vigilante cops are probably responsible for all the civilians injured. I love how Bloomberg stressed the minor injuries of the civilians to pretty much to detract from the fact that the cops were responsible. The shooter is disgusting but the cops aren't exactly the heroes they are described to be....did they really need to start a shoot out in the middle of midtown?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Seamus Callan

    I knew I would find a comment blaming Obama or some weird political spin within the first few comments (this one was the first when I logged on).

    August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ben

    totally sounds like 1 person wanted to kill one other person....and then the police got involved and shot 9 others.......So mass shooting...hang the NRA!!!!!!!! oh wait the cops did most of the shooting......Someone with a concealed carry probably could have gotten the job done better than new yorks finest who like shooting into crowds.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. Soldit Man

    For all you idiots who despise gun ownership, if a citizen with a concealed carry permit would have been there and took out the shooter the additional people who were shot may not have been. When guns are outlawed on outlaws will have them. What a bunch of morons liberals are.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • little tin god

      I'd be willing to bet that the "citizen" would have been shot by the cops because (s)he was firing a gun in public and that even more bystanders would have also be shot. You people that believe that civilians should "carry and protect" are fricking morons. There has not been one instance of a John Wayne wanna be stepping up to the plate in any of the shootings that have been occurring with regularity. There are reports that there were several people carrying concealed weapons during the Phoenix shooting and not one of them drew their guns to "protect" the crowd.

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

      Had someone with a concealed weapon decided to shoot this guy, who is to say someone else with a concealed weapon wouldn't interperet him as the aggressor and do the same thing? Allowing concealed weapons lets regular citizens bypass the judicial system and serve as judge, jury, and executioner without having all of the facts! That is not the innocent until proven guilty America I live in!!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Mick

      Yep...and think of how much better it would have been if TEN people whipped out their guns and started blasting away. I'm sure they could have done a much better job than the cops. We need more people firing guns through crowds, and we need them now.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Matthew Gallagher

    NOT a mass shooting in the sense the gunman went there to kill a bunch of people. This was a single murder in which a number of people got shot in the crossfire, perhaps some of them by police.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. Grizite mi Kurac i Muda

    they should grab the cops' guns.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. BDB

    I don't get it....doesn't this guy know NYC has a gun ban?

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

    Senseless crimes do seem to be coming more of an every month occurence in America. Or maybe it just gets more media coverage nowadays to fuel debate and dissent?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Grizite mi Kurac i Muda

      media vultures.

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

    Everyone should hold this man responsible and our federal government

    August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Grizite mi Kurac i Muda

    Untrained people (NYC cops) have no business carrying firearms.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • little tin god

      And civilians should be licensed to carry concealed?

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

    Obama's America? "Ya'll" mean it was any different when it was GWB's America? Yup, no one shoots anyone when a Republican is President and if you elect that mental midget Romney, it won't happen under his watch either...dolt.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. Oh uh

    This is not a mass shooting. The guy wanted to kill only one person, and bystanders were wounded as cops tried to defend themselves when the gunman opened fire on them. This is different. I'm now wondering how bad this event is going to hurt tourism in the days to come. :/

    August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Truth Hurts

      The gunman never opened fire on the cops....

      August 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. ZepLedHead

    And the Tab for all these related expenses are?

    What has this country come to. This is the strett corner justice of late.

    Just take your old boss and punch him in the nose.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • ldean50

      Just make sure when you punch him in the nose, you yell, "MOSQUITO!"

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

    This country has too many unhinged people to have anything but the strictest gun control laws. There is no rational argument for not making it much more difficult to purchase ANY KIND of firearm.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • manu4t

      Exactly. Only the black market and the criminals who use it should have guns. Good call. Lets overturn the 2nd amendment based on one incident, that should provide great precedent for banning abortion when someone dies during one.

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

      sigh.. bad people will get guns when they want them leaving the good citizens defenseless. More gun control is not the answer. The answer is an armed populace.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Rational

      Here's your argument, super strict guns laws = no guns for the law abiding citizens = more dangerous criminals who don't care what the law says, and they use their guns to kill all the unarmed sheeple to spread their fear and intimidation.

      Argument #2 – remove all guns, people resort to knifes, swords, baseball bats, cars, explosives and illegal guns to kill others. If they are to the point of not caring about murdering someone, do you really think they care that the tool they are using is also illegal?

      Given these two arguments, I'd rather everyone have a gun to defend themselves and make the criminals think twice about losing their own lives if they come after the innocent, than all the innocent lining up like sheep to the slaughter.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Michigander

      It's my understanding that New York City DOES have very strict gun control laws. Those laws seem to be useless in this case. So, how would more of the same be of any use?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Daisy

      New York has some of the strictest gun laws didnt help except that no one but the gunman was carrying a gun. On top of that this was not a mass shooting. The other people that got hurt were probably hurt by the cops in crossfire. I would never live in New York partly because of their gun laws. It is my right to carry and have a gun. This is just the medias way of getting us all riled so the liberal agenda can be passed. I will not give up my right to bear arms.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Regulation of gun ownership means that the good people keep theirs, they just have to be registered as a collection. Responsible ownership of weapons designed to kill should be a no-brainer. Bad people get guns because they are everywhere. Can't get one in the city you live in? Hop in the car and run over into the next state to a gun show and they will have everything you need because there is no regulation on who can buy one. If the so-called bad people who used a gun in the commission of a crime received a stiffer sentence, no time off for good behavior, etc, who knows the end result. It wouldn't happen immediately, but if it was more difficult to purchase a weapon for everyone, then eventually things might get better, especially as guns were confiscated after crimes were committed.
      Regulation doesn't make it harder for "good" people to get guns, the back-ground check should make it more difficult for the "bad" people to get one. But it has to apply no matter where you go to purcase those weapons, whether from a licensed shop to the individual at a gun show. This isn't the 1800s, we don't need a country full of individuals who still think playing "cowboy" is fun.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Yet, New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. The better safety measure would be more education and strict enforcement of gun laws that already exist. Including harsh punishment for the criminal element who are determined to break the laws that already exist.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      Applicable to the shooting: TWO things NYC has – –
      1. the toughest gun laws in the country
      2. A blowhard pompus mayor.
      What they SHOULD have if you belive like the Mayor is the SAFEST place n the world.
      NT the safest – – those who believe like Bloomberg are idiots!!!
      The mayor's security sould folow the Mayors request, take time off ad leave the fool to glad-hand on the streets totally unprotected JUST like everyone else in the City! Bloomberg is demented – but selfservingly so...

      August 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chick Fool A

    Better than George Bush's America, where 3,000 New Yorkers were killed while the absentee "Commander in Chief" was campagining for his brother in Florida and reading "My Pet Goat"

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