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. easye123

    CNN censors posts that contain no profanity.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • easye123

      Why on earth would they do that?

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

    This person had a 0.45 caliber pistol and some of the wounded bystanders (none too critically- some were just grazed) were accidently shot by police. Just imagine (to the gun nuts) if the shooter had an automatic weapon. I would say that this is actually supportive of NY's automatic weapons regulations (as opposed to CO). I agree with the gun nuts that you can't stop crazy or stupid. But you can stop arming them with automatic rifles with hundreds of metal piercing rounds.

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

      You cannot legally buy an automatic rifle in the United States.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • old gaffer

      automatic firearm: gun continues to fire as long as the trigger is pulled and there are still rounds in the magazine.
      semi-automatic firearm: fires one shot per squeeze of the trigger – holding the trigger down does not cause more rounds to be fired.

      It is currently illegal for any US citizen to own an automatic firearm produced after (I think) 1986. Automatic firearms manufactured prior to that can be legally owned upon completion of federal paperwork and paying a $200 fee per firearm.

      Please learn a little about your topic before posting. thank you.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Captain Obvious

      You need to educate yourself. A .45 caliber pistol *IS* a semi-automatic gun. It automatically loads another round in it's chamber for the next shot.

      The guns used in Colorado were also "semi-automatic". A "fully automatic" gun fires continously when the trigger is pulled. Non of the guns used in these two cases were fully automatic.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Doncville

    I blame this on Obama. The nation is hurting...no jobs, stress, the future is bleak, its enough to drive people mad and do extreme things.
    This country needs a lift but with O in the white house and not caring about turning around this nation....
    He does not care about jobs, wages, or bringing back American to all its glory. This administartion thinks its doing a great job......delusional at best I'd say.
    There is no end in sight and things are only going to get worse. Blame the President.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jeff

    Ahhh!!! He was laid off a year ago from the news story.

    To all you haters of gun rights...this was because Obama couldn't get this guy a job.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. earnmyvote

    19 people shot overnight in Chicago (Aug 23rd), shooting in NY.......not enough for stronger gun controls??!! guns dont kill people, people kill people....what evs. We have amongst the loosest gun controls and gun ownership screening...its a ticket for gun rage and gun killings....yet the media has shows like American Guns andGun Smokes, supoprted by dollar doling lobbyists.....some on guys!!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris Shark

      You complete and utter twit. NYC and Chicago have THE strongest, (and most ridiculous), gun laws in the nation. Stronger gun laws won't prevent this sort of thing from happening. Safety, education and common sense are the only thing
      that will ever prevent and/or save anyone, not MORE LAWS.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Captain Obvious

      Outlawing guns really worked in Norway.

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

      Is the NRA paying you by word for insulting folks opposed to guns. With anger like that and a gun in your hand, i would be concerned. Do get your point across, in a civil and educated manner though.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • earnmyvote

      CaptainObvious, the most obvious thing about Norway is that they donot have shootings and gun violence on a daily basis or a few times a day. Good point though.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris Shark

      earnmyvote: If you even read my post, you'd see that strong gun laws in Chicago and NYC don't work. Also, I'm not insulting someone opposed to guns, I'm insulting someone who doesn't know what they are talking about.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ETL

    yeah since all you idiots want to take away the right to bear arms lets get rid of the freedom of spech so no one has to hear you dumb remarks

    August 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Concerned

    Wow. If the cops really shot people that is a big problem. Overzealous much?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. solrac503

    This guy must have had an eye patch or a beard, some distinguishing mark that would have given away the fact that he was a 'bad guy.' 'Cause you know all bad guys in a delusional persons head are distinguishable. Pay no attention to the fact that there are thousands of cops in NYC. They, the gun totters, are blood hungry and want to be the 'hero.' Bruce Willis stars in their delusional head. Maybe we should issue out courtesy guns, that way, when they hear shots fired, everyone will pull out there gun and look for the person with the gun and start firing. Sound smart? No? I don't think so ether.

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

      And all gun owners are "blood hungry and hero" type indistinguishable from each other, right? So those law abiding non street gun carrying who just wants to collect antiques or use their guns for sports and recreation are also blood hungry and wanna-be heroes. Is that what you mean?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      Yes, Rice. That's exactly what I meant. I meant a antique collector walking down polishing his collectable should have had the foresight to load his gun and shoot.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Caneman

    Guns are illegal in NYC... how did this happen!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Judge11

      LOL... Thats what I was thinking!

      August 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris Shark

      Actually they aren't. You need a permit, which isnt easy to get.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dpraidergirl

    Really....that's all you can come up with? MORON!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. asifyoucould

    ?GUN CONTOL NOW

    August 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Captain Obvious

      SPEECH CONTROL NOW!

      If you want to outlaw gun ownership (Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights) nothing will stop outlawing Freedom of speech (First Amendment).

      Don't cherry pick which rights you like and which you don't.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mychaeltodd

    Gun control is still out of control!

    August 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • tigre57

      Gun control would not have stopped this. MOST guns that are used in a crime are NOT registered, so how would gun control, which is ONLY about registering guns stop those who use illegal guns? No, political correctness is why these shooting keep happening. People are afraid to speak up when someone is sending up all sorts of red flags in their behaviour. We all look the other way until that person explodes and kills people and then everyone says "why didn't anyone notice he was a nut?" Well, you did, you were just too much of a coward to say something.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jholland27

    another public shooting – amazing in a city that controls your soft drink consumption, how you feed your new born baby, and where you ingest second hand smoke but yet the thought of controlling guns on it's streets is anathema to most.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wallster

      great point!

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

      They have gun control you ignoramus! Handguns are illegal in NYC! Read!

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

      They should make laws outlawing shooting someone. That will solve the problem right? Right ??

      August 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • tigre57

      And NY HAS gun control within the city. Gee how is that working out?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • RiceRR

      It is illegal to have a handgun in NYC. So how did this person get to use a handgun when it is banned there? I guess his criminal mind did not heed to that law, either.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh D

      You cannot legally carry concealed in NYC. So they have already taken care of that. If you want to illegally though you can, like this guy did. Look at Chicago, another city that bans LEGAL carrying of firearms for protection. So basically NYC sucks.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Captain Obvious

      The solution is not more gun control, it is legalizing soft drinks, how you feed your baby and smoking.

      I want a Free country, not a necessarily a safe one (as if that is even possible).

      August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lol

    That's it, I'm leaving this American stinkhole. I think I'll go to Norway or something. No one ever shoots anyone there...Oh, wait...

    August 24, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Qwerty Allstar

      Hahahaha.

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

      Norway is a great country to live in. I have been there many times over the years. However, I hope you have the means to afford living there. Norway's cost of living makes CA look like utopia..............

      August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. stan

    what we need is more gun laws after all it was against the law to carry a 45 in nyc also shooting people and police it was against the law to kill your former boss maybe one more law would prevent this happening in the safest city in america giv me a break bloomberg you are the nutcase in nyc

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