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. ProperVillain

    Another shining example of our need for gun control. Seriously, when will everyone wake up and realize that our right to bear arms doesn't mean everyone should be able to get them. Some people are just too unstable and/or stupid to be trusted with a gun...

    August 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. darrenhankins

    very sad

    August 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. canofpencils

    So Bloomberg- how's that gun/ rights/ illegal search thing goin for ya? National Socialist clown

    August 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Don Wilson

    PEOPLE CONTROL - NOT GUN CONTROL As a police officer, I do not believe I would have confronted an armed suspect, already known to have shot someone, but displaying no weapon on a crowded New York street. What were they thinking? Just follow the perp to a more safe condition and then confront him. If the perp wanted to harm no-involved citizen, he would have a the primary crime scene.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Willie

    Guns are banned in NYC...so why is there gun violence? Funny how you never hear about gun violence at a Gun Show or at a shooting range? Maybe because others are armed?? 20,000 gun laws on the books.

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

      An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. – Robert A. Heinlein

      August 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      So here's the thing.... highly trained NYPD officers accidentally shot and wounded innocent bystanders while attempting to subdue the shooter. I guarantee those officers are better trained than the local cops in my home town, and they are DEFINITELY more capable than the average gun-show attendee. The last thing that I want to see is someone who has watched too many Clint Eastwood movies pulling a gun on my crowded subway thinking that he's going to save the day and then accidentally shoot my daughter.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • cbj2e

      I don't hear about all the automotive accidents happening on our highways everyday, that must mean they don't happen, right?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jim delanty

    Detroit has 4 times the population of its next door neighbor Windsor in Canada.They both have had severe unemployment problems.During the period Sept.27,2009 and Sept.27,2011-there were no murders in Windsor and 260 in Detroit.Difference gun control.– Chaz

    August 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • JeremyH6

      Haha...there are q good bit more differences between those two cities than just the gun laws in their respective countries.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reason

      So residents of WIndsor want to shoot people, they just can't access guns? Doubt it.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Windsor, Ontario is 77% white. Detroit is 82% black. Are you actually foolish enough to believe that the only difference between the two cities' murder rate is gun control?

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

      We need leaders at this time. a mass killing happening every week or so in our country right now. yet, all out supposed leaders-obama and romney- do is issue these isipid, useless statements about what a terrible thing this is. we already know that. A leader is a person who stands up and does the right thing regardless of the consequences. we need some version of gun control and a national conversation about what is wrong with our society. Obama and Romney are not leaders. They do what need to do and say to hold onto or grab power. No courage. Not men who should hold power.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deni

      Jim, this is a reply to Adam’s comment. I can’t reply to his comment directly as there is no reply button for reply comments.

      Reply to Adam:

      Adam your comment is pure stupidity. The man who shot up the movie theatre is black or white? This is not a black or white thing. There should be better gun control laws in this country.

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

      Deni, clearly you have reading comprehension issues. My comment was to Jim's statement that reads as follows:

      "Detroit has 4 times the population of its next door neighbor Windsor in Canada.They both have had severe unemployment problems.During the period Sept.27,2009 and Sept.27,2011-there were no murders in Windsor and 260 in Detroit.Difference gun control."

      To make the statement that the difference between 260 murders in Detroit vs 0 murders in Windsor is solely linked to gun control is pure fantasy when you consider the population makeup of the two cities. Does it make an impact? Possibly. Is it the only factor? Of course not.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Thomas Paine

    More "crowd" control by the NYPD. Shooting innocent bystanders. A lot of them are roided up thugs now, trained by Israel and the Department of Homeland "Security".

    August 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. stopbeingirrational

    Really? This man didn't kill his coworker because of the recession, if indeed the recession was still upon us. Further, recall the economic collapse happened during the Bush administration. Bush's two unfunded wars (every war in the past was accompanied by tax increases to pay for them, which real patriots, including wealthy ones, paid without any whining), Bush's tax cuts, most of which went to the top 1%...yeah, this is Obama's fault. Oh, let's not forget a Republican coalition in both houses of Congress who have blocked every single attempt this Administration has made that would help fix the problem. The last thing they would want is for this black president to have a record of success. Which he has.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bradley

    So. . . How's that gun ban working for ya NY?

    August 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. baycap

    New Yuck? Well, aren't you cute with your worthless comment. You can now go back to watching Jerry Springer.

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

    Insanity.

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

    i think if he had a job this would not have happened something has to be done or this might become more frequent

    August 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kim Wilson

    Mayor Bloomberg - Mexico has total gun control. Citizens are not allowed to have guns.

    How do you think that is working out for them? Is this what you want for New York?

    August 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pliny

    Considering that you are nothing but a redneck racist, I'm suprised you are calling for all-out race war.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. IMO

    Those that say that we don't need effective gun laws because "guns don't kill people" and "people will find other ways", are like saying we shouldn't have any traffic regulations or license tests because they don't prevent 100% percent of road rage/car accidents.

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

      Key words in anti-gun posts = "effective firearm laws". The only effective (proven by statistical numbers) firearm laws passed in the last 40 years have been the ones allowing Concealed Carry by citizens, and the removal of the ban in DC.

      The Concealed Carry law in Florida was so effective, Handgun Control Inc. had to compare Total Violent Crime numbers afterwards to Crime Involving Firearms numbers before the law in order to argue otherwise.

      Face it, there are contries with complete bans on modern firearms, and they have crimes being commited with uzis. Enforcment is the problem, criminals get weapons illegally.

      When seconds count, Police are just minutes away.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
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