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. SirToYou

    Ok, does this guy get his NRA membership revoked for 30 or 60 days? What is the policy?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • John Clark

      Well it's sure obvious that the New York strict gun policy worked. This and the Yankee stadium shootings and the Chicago shootings yesterday prove strict anti gun laws do not work.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. curious

    Meanwhile, there is a report on South Korean TV about a nut job running around with a big knife rendomly stabbing people. Do you think Korea will collect all kitchen knives? Not likely.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    The cats out of the bag on guns fellas, they aren't going away anytime soon. Get over it already. Move to europe maybe if you don't like living in fear?

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

    all he needed was a job a job a job where are all the jobs

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

    He only had the gun because he is a member of a well ordered militia. NOT

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

    If only NY had strict gun laws this would have never happened...wait, um...yeah they have those. I'm all for listening to the reasoning for more gun control laws if and when someone can logically explain to me how they will help when the hundreds of ones on the books already didn't stop this.

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

      nyc is the safest large city in the country because of those strict gun laws

      August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. yourfeelsdontmatter

    What an incredibly stupid thing to say.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Opinion from Canadian

    We have strict gun laws in Canada and we had a firearms registry which permitted the government to take away PROHIBITED weapons.... Everyone can own a riffle or shotgun if they took a firearms course and the government requires another permit for someone who wants to buy a gun or more guns so that someone reponsible (police, clergy, judge, doctor) will need to vouch for you to get 1 or more guns. It didn't stop spree killings like at the Montreal Polytechnic or Dawson College or Eaton Center. I can name 3 spreee killings that happened in 30 years.... I can name 2 spree killings that happened in the US in the last MONTH. For all you gun nuts, do you get the point ??? more guns available increases the odds of gun violence. As we speak, I can get access to half a dozen hunting firearms and go on a rampage, but like most Canadians, I dont because my life is not hopeless. Spree killings happen out of desperation, someone screaming for help and people not listening, people working hard and losing everything only to see the rich bankers and brokers get bonuses for losing the money that they entrusted them with..... suffering the consequences of someone elses greedy actions and seing noting done about it. When SOME people are pushed to their limits, they either go out with a wimper (suicide) or a roar (rampage).... and the media gives attention to the rampage and no one fixes the underlying problem of inequality which the media should keep in the front page. Fix societies problems and the gun violence will fix itself... you dont have to believe me, just look at Canada's social programs, they have helped to maintain a balanced society...We are not Socialists, we just care about each other as a society...... and remember SOCIALism / SOCIety seem close in meaning..... the oppposite of the word is INDIVIDUALism ...... The U.S. can either be 300 million individuals fighting for their own interests or 300 million people working together for everyones interests......... Health care is a good start, any decent society cares for their sick, anyone else thinking otherwise is thinking about their own self interests.... be it doctors, insurance company making a profit, stock holders of pharmaceuticals or insurance company. Profit is good, but at what cost ????

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

      3 sprees killings in 30 years? You must not be familiar with the Canadian bran of Hells Angels...what Providence do you live in?

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

      Canada also has a small fraction of the population of the US. That might be an important factor.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • the other canadian

      you obviously haven't been sick lately. Try working in the healthcare....moved to the USA.....Go Romney/Paul

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

      @opinionfrom canada...

      I can go get a knee replacement or appendectomy or facelift TODAY should I so desire. How about you? What's your waiting list on those three operations?I can also go and get a gun of my choosing from any sporting goods store. It's called FREEDOM you ignorant, brainwashed, socialist cog. Just shut up and continue being America's attic.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Terry

    This is not an incident of terrorism? How come

    What else this crazy white male was doing? Why Americans are not held responsible for terrorism? In recent weeks, this is third major incident of terrorism .... Americans vs. Americans. We should all grow up

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

      Actually, if you go to police one dot com, you'll see pictures of the downed shooter. He is black. Try not to wear your ignorance and racism so proudly.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. pedro

    If this whole point is to ban guns, why not just shut down the factories that produce them and confiscate all existing guns including the police. lets go back to the time of swords and lancse and to the time when a mans word and his balls were the things that conunted...

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

      Not to mention his/her ability to spell and articulate him/herself.

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

      Yeah, everybody with swords....EXCEPT a corrupt, crooked government. Real smart.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob Lees

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    I was wondering when a wingnut would try to blame Obama, and shrubbos recession for all the other wingnuts out there killing innocent people. Putz

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

    aaah, more 2nd amendment terrorism. Guns are a menace and are creating major terrorism in this country. They all need to go.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. bs1

    So, a disgruntled former employee shoots ONE person and the overzealous police shoot NINE in their botched response. Let's see if the media focuses on that minor detail...

    August 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. duh

    As previously thought. Simple Murder. With bystanders injured. Enough said.

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

      I think NYPD did more damage in this one than the shooter. Chalk one up for NYC's finest....

      August 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SirToYou

    Another member of a well regulated militia exercising his second amendment right. What? You mean he is not in a well regulated militia?

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

      The well-regulated militia argument is a red herring. The Bill of Rights protects the rights of the citizens. In other words, the second amendment is not a grant of governmental authority.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
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