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. Wow

    People who shoot other people are law abiding citizens who would MOST CERTAINLY give up their firearms if someone decided to ban guns. OH WAIT. NYC basically has a ban on guns and this still happened. OOPS. I guess you're wrong.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Really

      Spot on. I'm sure another deranged guy mad at the world as he did not make it in the this life.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • abenab

      NYC and Washington DC have the toughest gun laws in the country. The problem is the firearms come from outside sources. Other states need to conform...Don't blame the strict laws that some impose. Blame the states that don't impose any laws at all.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Marshall

      Just to state the obvious - guns flood into NYC because certain states in this country will hand out assault weapons to anyone who asks for one.

      On behalf of all New Yorkers, we thank you.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      you're so right!
      guns for everybody!!!
      that would solve everything.
      you're so insightful, do you have a blog or something i could subscribe to?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Katherine

      Opps, looks like YOU are wrong since the rest of the country in which New York resides has NO such ban on guns. The answer is to have a nationwide ban on guns.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • MrComments

      NYC is on pace to have the lowest murder rate ever. And shootings are concentrated in only five precincts. NYC is one of the safest big cities in the US. So it tells me it was a good idea. Gun Laws don't eliminate shootings, they greatly reduce them though.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt Smith

      There seems to be a new shooting every day in the US, and one thing you never hear, is that someone on the scene pulled out their own weapon and saved the day. I'm always hearing the argument that allowing citizens to have guns would stop shootings from happening because citizens can then protect themselves and the community. Can anyone please show me in what cases that opinion has been applicable?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • mn22nj

      fact of the matter is, is if you remove bans on guns and allow citizens to carry guns, people will think twice before shooting into a crowd, yelling at people while driving, and other useless acts of aggression towards others. if you had the idea that the person next to you is going to shoot your ass because you decided to have a bad day instead of act like an adult, you would act a lot differently

      August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. JonfromLI

    Unbelievable. I just walked by it about an hour and a half ago on my way to work.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cole

    NYC has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.. Yet this just happened. What does that tell you?

    August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • LS

      too many ill-equipped, mentally and ability, have them.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob McBob

      It tells you you can still just drive into the city.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Uhh last I checked NYC doesn't have 'borders'. There's nothing stopping people from bringing guns into the city.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • JANICE

      It tells you they buy guns anywhere else and bring them here. And what's your point anyway? There's no reason why guns can't be regulated exactly like cars. Written tests, practical tests, licenses, registrations and inspections.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Pager710

      That the shooter is probably from New Jersey.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Magooser

      The shooter was from Texastuckyssippi

      August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      It tells me he got his guns in NJ or PA.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Resident

      It tells me people are importing guns possibly from states with less stricter laws.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • shrave

      You can't conclude anything. Someone from another city or state could have just went to NY and did that.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Captain Obvious

      That he bought his gun outside of NYC?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Frip

      That perhaps the guy was coming in from out of state?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Kym

      It tells me that unless each state has the same gun laws, nothing will be solved. It's too easy to go to another state and bring a gun back.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • erin2024

      That this guy got his gun outside of NYC – but somewhere else in the US?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • MG

      It tells you that people are frightened, and angry and uneducated and sick. We STILL need strict gun laws, but we also need help addressing these other issues.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry Warner

      Well Cole it tells you the law is not strick enoungh.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Van

      They were from New Jersey?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck in Quakertown

      It tells you, more "law abiding citizens" need to carry and be prepared to defend themselves and other.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Roger

      That you need to ban them in the whole country as it is just as easy to enter NYC with a gun?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • NunyaBusiness

      It tells me that we need national gun laws. State by state gun laws are pointless. Have you ever had trouble driving your car from state to state? I don't know how many times, I've driven my car to Pennsylvania to buy fireworks and then carry them back to NY where they are illegal. Never had a problem. I would if fireworks were illegal in Pennsylvania too. Same logic applies to guns.

      Think.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • MrComments

      NYC is on pace to have the lowest murder rate ever. And shootings are concentrated in only five precincts. NYC is one of the safest big cities in the US. So it tells me it was a good idea. Gun Laws don't eliminate shootings, they greatly reduce them though.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Did it ever occur to you that he bought the gun somewhere else?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Darkseider

      It tells me that allowing the people to carry a firearm may have stopped this shooting sooner. In all of the states that have open carry and CCW laws in effect and that allow their citizens to exercise that right this kind of thing is very very rare. For those that will bring up the tragedy in Colorado the shooter picked that target knowingly because he knew that the people there would be unarmed due to the theaters policy. Plain and simple. An armed society is a polite society. To think otherwise is foolish. If you want a ban on guns please do some research on the outcome of it and perform some critical thinking afterwards. You will come to the same conclusion every time. That gun control and gun bans only lead to higher crime rates as well as tyranny in the government.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. E.David

    Allow New Yorkers to carry legally concealed weapons after proper training and background checks.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. jbird68

    The bureau must be desperate this morning. Treating common murder as a terrorist event? Give me a break!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gamal omran

    God Bless NYC

    August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joski

    Exactly why everyone should have a gun. This BS would'nt happen. 1 person goes nuts, 5 people shoot him dead, not him shooting 5 dead

    August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. keith

    Just another freak, freaking out. Maybe if the world was'nt so hard on people and government made life a little eaiser for people to live, maybe they would'nt be so stressed and freaked out.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dragonborn

    Yeah let's blame the hicks and gun crazy idiots for this. Did anyone stop to think that this guy was some depressed person who had nothing to live for and decided to take others with him. Repealing the 2nd amendment isn't going to help the situation. People will get guns if they were illegal (example: Drugs). Here's a thought. Get strapped yourself, always watch your six, and if something pops off handle it before you get handled. Roll with it

    August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Paul

    Hmm, imagine if the sign on the door of the Empire State Building didn't say "No Guns Allowed", but really said "Guns Welcome". Maybe it would have saved 4 of the 5!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mark L.

    @ JMidnight – I've heard of IDIOTS before, but you truly top the charts !!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • JMidnight

      Well thought out response. You must be a professional debater! You certainly seem like a master at it!

      August 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JMidnight

      You have problems with reading comprehension, don't you? Have you ever read "A Modest Proposal"? Start there. Then get back to me.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pete

    I own 5 guns, all handguns, all legal and I have a permit that is valid in 22 states. I wont even travel to the other states. If I cant exercise my 2nd ammendment rights there, I wont spend my vacation dollars there either. I am armed 24/7. The world is a crazy place. I plan to die...of old age.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Good, we don't want your guns.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. MAPPY

    Do not ban guns – make it harder for people to get them – and stop selling AMMO at walmart

    stop allow people without Class 1 FTF's to buy guns, only allow people certified to buy guns

    people need to pay for 2 license's to buy a gun one licenses at $150 and another at $75

    when you buy a gun from the store you should have to present both licenses, and no one with a criminal record can get the first licenses

    all military personnel should be allowed a Class 3 FTF

    August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • MAPPY

      I'm sorry, people need to present 3 licenses, both licenses from the state, and 1 drivers license

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. dave

    Dems banned guns in nyc but guess what? It didnt help did it?

    August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • scarf

      They outlawed murder, too. Obviously, it didn't help, either.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • LegalCarry

      Why should I have to provide identification. Gun ownership is a right not a privledge. Voting is a right I don't have to carry a photo id to vote?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. CNNuthin

    CNN seemed too peaceful lately. All this news about who said what about issues they don't understand but still get to make laws for. It is nice to see some shootings stories get published again. That two day hiatus was too much.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
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