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. falseflagz

    If only there were a few citizens packing heat.

    This kat would have been taken out quicker.

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

      Yes, because the trained police were so accurate with their shots, I'm sure an old lady packing a 9 in her purse would have helped the situation.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      The bad persons eye patch should have given him away at the start. Because all bad people wear eye patches, right? I'm pretty sure he was wearing a metal glove and holding a cat. It was so obvious. If only a brave citizen would have shot him at the start, no one would have been hurt.

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

    we really need to take a look at how we raise our children in this country – helping them to understand the value of transparency in dealing with their stress, anxieties and emotions as well as anger and rage. my three-year-old gets very angry and doesn't quite know how to express it, so she gets very worked up and lets everyone know about it. she doesn't know any better. but that type of behavior seems to be showing up more and more in adults in stories just like this one. something isn't right, and in an effort to vent, they take it out on innocent and unsuspecting people that surround them. deeply saddened every time i read a story like this. it should be preventable.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jen B

    Well thanks to the cops, the city better get ready to grab it's cheeks and open wide. The lawyers are no doubt already jumping into their batmobiles.

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

    So Bloomberg will now ban people from working in buildings, ban employers from firing people, and will ban the police from killing suspects who draw a weapon on them. After all, personal behavior and personal responsibility for its results were banned a long time ago in New York.

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

    Wow! I sure am glad we have a lot of guns here in this country!

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

    The unstable are everywhere, you just don't know where. There is no way to track them.

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

    The article says that the gunman "ran after and shot a man in the head"; that two were killed including the gunman; that a woman was killed as well. So which is it? Two or three dead? "including the gunman" means he is dead and the person he shot in the head is dead. Or was it a woman he shot? Or is that part of the article rumor reported as fact in all the confusion I'm sure abounded at the scene. If most of the people injured were hit by bullets from NYPD guns then they need some serious marksmanship training.

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

    How about manufacturing of guns only to police and the military. Long guns for hunting is NOT the problem, it's these damn handguns and assault weapons that have only one purpose....to kill other people.

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

    Oh great so the gunman killed one person and the police shot 8 accidentally, what a great way to protect the public!!!

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

    Ok let's hear it from Bloomberg, "We need more gun control". Typical brainless liberal reaction. Tell you what, Bloomy Baby, if you hadn't already disarmed your law abiding citizens, this guy may have been taken down by a couple of them before anyone else was hurt. I know, that's a concept you just can't grasp.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • bz

      Thats the answer! Arm all of nyc! Brilliant!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. Aaron

    This story was reported terribly wrong here. It started as "gunman opens fire on crowd" and now we see there are only two dead. The gunman shot his intended target, then the police shot him. There would have been no other shots fired or bystanders hit if the police didn't open fire on him. It's a murder, plain and simple, not another mass shooting. Wouldn't have gotten near the attention if it were a stabbing instead of a shooting, although the result would be the same. This happens everyday (sadly). C'mon CNN, stop feeding the gun control civil war that's brewing.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Edward C

      Not to mention that the 9 people were likely hit by POLICE fire...

      August 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. MarkyGA

    This shows how INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT it is to HIT THE GROUND when you hear gunshots.

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

      On a New York street? Better to take your chances...

      August 24, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. Edward C

    Looking more and more like the Police shot most of the victims. Surprise, surprise...

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

      Of course you know they enjoyed that.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. curious

    So the gunman shot one former worker in the head, and it is not clear whether he fired any more shots at the police, but 9 were wounded ibn the "crossfire"? I hope this is not true. Please tel me te cops didn't shoot up all the civilians standing around while trying to take down this nut with a long gun.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jason

    Damn, what's with all these white guys shooting everyone up. As a white guy, I hope they don't start profiling me.

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