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. chris in ohio

    Many police forces are woefully undertrained in the effective use of firearms. 9 bystanders wounded? Unacceptable. The NYPD should immediate look at its firearms training program. It's obviously in need of close scrutiny.

    Chris

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

      Ban all guns in the police department and give them billy clubs. See how many are man enough to use them effectively.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tony

    u are stupid! where has sympathy gone to huh?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. VancCanadian

    Good Morning USA! It's been a few days since we had more of this news from the country of great Exceptionalism. A country polarized and hijacked by those exceptional muskets (errr, assault weapons) and tea parties people who need to cling to ideas of 2.5 centuries ago. Move On.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      Tell yourself that when the Paki's take over...

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

      You do realize that you still exist as a sovereign country only because no one wants it, right? Were it not for your spectacularly undesirable location, you would have been overrun by the English 300 years ago. Please don't sit there eating poutine and watching hockey reruns trying to convince the rest of the World that Canada has any say or otherwise considered opinion that means anything to anyone else...except, of course, other self righteous, socialist, Casper Milquetoast Canadians. You exist out of the indifference of the rest of the planet..

      August 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. human liberal

    omg I stubbed my toe, let's blame obama

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. MrBullard

    Actually it comes down to a matter of trust. Many folks don't trust people to own a firearm. May I point out that you trust your life everyday to the actions of others. On a very simple basis:
    1. You trust that they won't push you off the platform into an oncoming train
    2. You trust that they will stop at a stop sign or stop light
    3. You trust that the person won't steal your credit card number at a restaurant.

    Laws are only for honest people, if you're a crook you're gonna break them anyway. So the 2nd amendment is rewritten and ownership is removed, what else can't "we" be trusted with and who determines that? I understand that in 1950's Hungary, people could only be "trusted" with typewriters after the typewriters were registered. Where does it end?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • OMG

      TRUST???? Nine people were wounded or grazed in the crossfire, Kelly said. Who do I trust to own a gun?????

      August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Truth

    Criminals will have a gun no matter where they are, take the guns away from law abiding citizens and you will have a lot of defenseless targets.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • OMG

      Criminals will have a gun no matter where they are, take the guns away from law abiding citizens and you will have a lot of defenseless targets.

      If the law abiding citizens have no gun, where criminals take gun from? POLICE????

      August 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. perry

    1) This has nothing to do with gun control
    2) This has nothing to do with Obama (but thanks for all the racists comments)

    This is the result of an arrogant and unfeeling society where human life is not regarded with any importance. I'm sure the suspect was a crappy employee who probably got fired or disciplined for being crappy and he was too arrogant and stupid to accept his responsibility and just used violence as a retort, which is exhibit A of the unintelligent individual.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. martin

    NYC is the safest major city in the country because of strict gun laws. An most of the injured people were hurt because of stray bullets by the shooter and police (so much for the having everybody armed theory.)

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • stevelb1

      But they run guns from the more lenient states like GA into NYC. We need a national standard. The current rules are a joke.

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

      Statistics show that areas that allow concealed carry and open carry of firearms are actually safer than areas that are strict with firearms. Pools and cars kill more children every year than firearms; that's a CDC stat that you can check on their website.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Judge11

      Chicago also has extremely strict gun laws... But look at their statistics. What's wrong there?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave Goldberg

    This Headline is BS. 11 shot make you think this was a mass killing or terrorism. CNN should be careful how they word things. While something might be factually correct, it's irresponsible to word it like that.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Rick

    Another gunman that knew that this was a gun free zone and slaughtered innocent people, and yet, swimming pools and car accidents kill more children every year, but no one demands that cars and pools be outlawed. Liberals will demand gun control, when in reality, firearms are heavily regulated. When will people start demanding their right to carry? Although you choose not to carry, stats show that you are still safer because the gunman doesn't know who's armed and doesn't want to be killed by a citizen.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Cox

      He knew it was a gun free zone?

      Don't you think it was more like he knew where he used to work? (And it happened to be a gun-free zone?) Do you honestly think if he had been employed somewhere that wasn't in a GFZ he would have thought to himself, "I better rethink this – there may be other people on the street with guns that may shoot me"??? Come on!

      Hyperbole on either side of the gun control argument does nothing to further the discussion.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Wondering

    I have been wondering if violence like this is a new thing or if we are now so hyper-informed that it only *seems* as if our country is becoming more dangerous with more unhinged people? And why does it seem like there are more unhinged people than ever?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Cox

      We've become isolated as people. We no longer work to live, we live to work. And when we're not working, a lot of us are now tied to technology. And as we become more isolated, it's easier to become desensitized to the humanity of others. Hell, look at the typical comments you see on these boards.

      Combine the decreased sense of "community" with the extreme polarization that's occurred in this country, is it any wonder why you have more people going over the edge?

      My opinion. That's all this is.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lena Simone

    They were not concluding the investigation at 11:08 a.m. as it is now 11:53 and I still cannot leave my office because there are police officers blocking it off with tape. About 15 to 20 minutes ago, they appeared to have stripped the suspect on the street to investigate his wounds maybe? I'm not sure. I just know watching this 'disgruntled employee' die was not what I planned this morning. I feel so horribly to all who were wounded and pray for their speedy recovery. As for the gunman, just get his ass off the street already.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. newyorker

    2 killed, 8 injured in total. The cops are responsible for 9 of the victims while the gunman is only responsible for 1?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. Buzz

    Last night 19 people were gunned down in Chicago and Odumbo said yesterday, "Chicago is an example of what makes this country great," Moron.

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

    Someone said yesterday that there would be a civil war in US if Obama is reelected. I say it will be for sure, no matter who got elected.

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