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. redONE

    The shooter needed a job plain and simple give us our jobs back so we can eat

    August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. You Are All Fools

    Must be a slow news day. Don't any of you people work?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. steve

    if those 11 people had guns, that would not have happened.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • steve's mom

      Brilliant steve, another deep thinker courtesy of the NRA.

      Too bad you have brain damage, huh.

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

      Good Logic....

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

      I certainly hope thats sarcasm i'm detecting.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • no guns plz

      y don't u think the other way? what if this shooter didn't have access to a gun? ban guns in america!!! we the Americans are heading to another kind of war internally! this needs to be stopped asap!!!!

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

      If that one man did not have a gun, this would not have happened

      August 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • m1a1ip

      No, there probably would have been 11 times as many casualties. Trained police officers may have caused some of the casualties. Wannabe Dirty Harry's would have caused carnage.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hubert

      If that one man didn't have a gun this wouldn't have happened.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • PenguinParadise

      If 11 people would've had guns there would've been 50 shot!

      August 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. iambicpentamaster

    B R E A K I N G . . . . . . . . .

    Brian Ross and ABC are reporting a link to the Empire State TEA Party.

    ABC advises voting for Barack Hussein Obama / Joseph Robinette Biden.

    That is all...

    August 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. blanche3477

    New York needs to get over itself. This happened in your little area. Look to the west and you'll see a whole country who wasn't touched by this AT ALL.. tHERE ISN'T ANYTHING MORE YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS NOW. BE REPORTERS. YOU'VE GIVEN US THE FACTS AS YOU KNOW THEM NOW. Until you have more information – MOVE ON

    August 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. redONE

    If he had a job this might not have happened

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

      bull, if he had a bigger toy he could have done a better job. Gee, if i could buy one of your toys here in canada, maybe i could come down there for target practice. You live by the sword you gonna die by it. You people will never get the message. Lol.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    Wow, yet ANOTHER random shooting of innocent people.

    Isn't it the NRA argument that "guns don't kill people, people kill people"? Well, that's true, BUT what is the argument then .. that we should ignore the fact that guns are the most lethal, easy-to-access ways for people to kill us? There are lots of crazies that can't be counted on to be responsible citizens. LOTS ... and recent news proves perhaps even more than we thought! We have everyone from babies to congresswomen being shot and killed in random, meaningless shooting sprees. What, do we do nothing because it's "people" that kill people?

    Take away a crazy person's gun and they can't shoot you anymore. It's alot harder to kill people with knives and bombs than with hidden guns. Alot harder. Expand background checks. Make it much harder to get a gun. Ban assault weapons like machine guns. Pay for more police so citizens don't feel they NEED to protect themselves.

    We have to do something here, people. What kind of country is this? What good is it to be "free" when you or your baby or your congresswoman can be gunned down any week by some crazy kid or disgruntled worker that you have never met in your life? Come on! Let's react! Let's do something!!

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

      Here here !

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

      I agree. This country is going to "demand it's rights" into an early grave.

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

      That's right, John. Start jumping on the "ban guns" bandwagon before knowing any facts at all about this incident. We don't know where the shooter got the gun, how long he's had it, etc. yet. Why don't you get off the soapbox until you at least know whether this incident supports your argument?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • EMC

      Very well stated John.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Nice rant. But NYC has the toughest gun laws in the country other than Washington D.C. and yet this shooting still happened.

      This is living proof that gun control doesn't work. Haha

      August 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      What is it I need to know? This crazy person got a gun he shouldn't have gotten .. and killed innocent people with it. Just like all the other recent crazies who have been killing innocent people left and right across the country.

      These have not been organized crime, mafia, or militia attacks .. they are random, individualized attacks. If guns were banned, we would only have to worry about militias, mafia, and terrorists .. instead of every moody, violent, or mentally ill crazy on the street, too.

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

      NY has some of the toughest gun control laws in the USA. Gun crime is rampant.
      Switzerland forces ALL men to keep a government supplied firearm in their home. Switzerland has the lowest crime rate in the world. It seems an armed populas is a polite populas. A disarmed populas is at the complete mercy of armed criminals.
      What say ye?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conservativeeaner

      What, more gun control? NYC already has the toughest system of gun control laws anywhere and they clearly failed(again!). Yor arguement that a person couldn't have done this without a gun is flat out wrong. There was an incident here in CA recently where a man attacked 11 people and killed 3 of them and seriously wounded the rest... with a KNIFE!
      All gun control does is create defenseless people, i.e., TARGETS.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Sounds like more gun control is needed (by the police). Eight people shot in cross fire and they are not sure the perp even fired a shot at the police.

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

      Should they have waited until they were actually shot by the gunman before they returned fire?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Camelspyder

    Well, NY State has a no gun law. The only people with guns in New York are cops and criminals. So, whose fault is it? You can't cry, "See, this is why we need more gun control". This senseless crime happened in a "no guns allowed state". It's too late! There are too many guns out there. There will never be a total gun control in this country. If it were to happen, the only way the recover all guns is crime by crime and those willing to give up their guns. This could take a few life times to achieve.

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

      And yet the man had a gun. Since many states do have very lax gun control laws it would not be hard for him to buy a gun and drive back to NYC.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2nd Amendment Kay

      Too true. Criminals don't obey laws now! Why do these Sheeple keep thinking more laws will reign in the bad guys! Idiocy!!! And NY state has no ban on guns. But in NYC there is a city wide ban on guns of any kind. So to all you Sheeple out there remember criminals will always have guns. Are you ready for a society that leaves you the law abiding citizen open for victimization by thugs. If you think you can sleep soundly at night, as for me MOLON LABE!!!!

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

    Over half the victims were shot by NY Cops in a crossfire. WTH? These idiots couldn't hit a barn.

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

    Cops shot innocent citizens...about average for LE in this country.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • canofpencils

      See folks! LEO is not your friend, they are as power mad as any other lunatic

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

    Really...

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

    NO GUN CONTROL. NO NEW WORLD 0RDER.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chuck Heston

    Obviously this story is fake. Guns are banned in NY.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. redONE

    Everyone is overlooking the real reason he had no job no job means no food nothing to look forward to

    August 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • New Gawker

      He did have a job, maybe he was fired because he's a nutjob.

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