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. DriftSS

    Hopefully the upcoming facts will change...but for now it appears that the shooter shot ONE, while the pursuing police shot the shooter AND NINE innocent victims. If this is the case, all officers involved need to be promptly fired (for lack of proper gun control). Inexcusable if true. And this is who we want to trust for our protection??? Seems similar in outcome to the recent high-speed chase in MD where an untrained officer ran himself off the road and got killed from insufficient pursuit training. Here we appear to have insufficient firearms training and apprehension tactics. God bless the victims.

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

      I wonder who's saying that the NYPD shot the others? every other news source says the gunman shot everyone else.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dpraidergirl

    You mean....the Bush Major Squrew up.....he created this whole mess we are in! Don't blame someone who is trying to get us out of this mess!

    August 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. realist

    I wonder if NYPD will spy on the Gunman's place of worship? Oh wait he is a White so he cannot be targeted as a Terrorist. I feel sorry Media is owned by the Jew's so they just love hating on the Minorities! Coexist. Come to Dborn Michigan people a church and mosque are side by side..beautiful sight..

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

      If you go to police one dot com, you will see a picture of the downed shooter. He is actually black. Try not to wear your ignorance and racism so proudly.

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

      That's only because 40% of the population is of Arab decent.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mary

    The recession was going full blast when Obama took office. Wall street imploded and the housing market went belly up in 2007-2008. Unemployment was around 9% to 10% when he took office in January 2009. Leave that Kool-Aid alone, turn off Rush and work on your critical thinking skills

    August 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. canofpencils

    LEO cant protect you, they are after the fact in most cases so get a CCW in your state and gear up. Know the laws where you live and protect yourself – against anyone- foreign or domestic

    August 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prime Controller

      If you have to buy a gun because of fear, then I just do not know what to say. I have never seen gunplay on the streets... have you? The one time I saw a gun was when I woke up with one in my face... not sure how any gun would have helped me that night.

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

      It's funny that gun control fanatics claim that people who carry guns are scared or paranoid. Then, in the very next breath, they cry that we should ban guns because anyone can open fire on innocent people at any time. So who's paranoid here?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. anon

    Gotta love the government and media setting us all up for a big event. A shame people have to die for their dumb agenda of control.

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

    So one person is shot by the killer and in pursuit of him police fire shots that not only kill him, but wound nine other people. So if trained officers with guns in a shooting situation accidentally injure nine other people, what do you think would happen if multiple private citizens also had weapons and began to open fire in a puiblic area? And yet that is always presented as the solution to gun violence. Arm everybody so that the killer can be taken out (along with how many other bystanders?)

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

      Most private gun owners go to the range more than police. The minimum requirement for shooting skill for a police officer is laughable.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • than

      OK Steve, since you have so little faith in the police (perhaps justifiably so) picture this scenario carrying out then. Multiple private citizens are firing at the killer as police arrive on the scene. How many of those citizens will be shot by the incompotent police because they cannot tell who is who? Either way more guns increases the chance of more accidental shootings.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DG101

    This obviously never happened. Guns are illegal in New York so this story is made up.

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

      As difficult as it is to get guns in NY, there are still many guns in NY because people go to gun friendly states to purchase them or purchase them illegally. We'll have to wait to see where this gun was purchased or if it has it's serial numbers altered. Your uninformed statement meant to support your anti gun control agenda is not (yet) supported by the facts and is irresponsible.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. who knows?

    How come the news media sensationalize murder by a former employee against his boss and up the road a couple of miles in Harlem kids get killed every day? The only sensational news here is the police hitting innocent citizens in their overzealous panic.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Loathstheright

    The suspect, 53-year-old Jeffrey Johnson....tea party member? Conservative? You betcha.

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

      In related news, CNN is already trying to find a way to link him to the TEA Party...And on a side note, the left wing media's ratings fall further.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • abbot

      Ha you wish. State fasts please.
      The guy James Holms was a left wing OWS loser. Fact.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Leslie M

    Editor. Please?

    "Gunman Jeffrey Johnson, 53, killed one person before he was shot to death outside the busy tourist destination just after 9 a.m., Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. The victim was Johnson's former coworker at a was a "disgruntled former employee" who shot a former"

    August 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Frank

    The gunman got his two victims and the cops shot everyone else. What a bunch of dopes NYC cops are. Jeeze, take their guns away would you.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Deni

    Ignorant comment. Get some common sense.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Judge11

    Impossible! Guns are Illegal in New York City... It is perfectly safe there and nobody would dare break the law...

    August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim M

    Like in the Colorado shooting, this action appears to be driven in part by the dangerous side effects of antidepressants. It's time to ban these very unsafe drugs, and bring back reality to tens of millions of Americans.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • How do you know

      Jim, where did you get that information? It is not in any of the reports Ive seen

      August 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
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