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. Timothy

    Another casualty of Obama-nation.

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

      And just how is this connected to Obama? Even better how is this connected to anyone other than the individuals involved at this point?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Good intention

    Learn english first. What we are dealing with nowadays is definitly a porduct of human right abuse. You fire somone without even thinking twice and that peson probably has a family to take care of. What can Mr. Obama do? He is trying his best but the corporate power is there trying to; and screwing everyone.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    Obama is not a "looser" Clinton was "looser" with Monica, but Obama is faithful to Michelle. Please learn English "mo betta" before posting on here, whether you really are a Chinese student or not. Also, below you wrote "Obama is a socialism." This makes no sense. People of your intelligence will vote for the GOP, here's to hoping the majority of the USA is better educated than you.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. joe

    Guns should be Legal to carry so people like these will think twice before they start a shooting spree.
    a Mad person will find gun one way or the other, its the Good citizens that want to protect their families from these Nut people. Gun is simply a tool, Banning Gun will not solve problem, a killer will kill any way by using any other tool such Nail Gun, home made explosives, Matches, keroseen oils Hammer, stone etc etc etc so what now you gonna Ban the stones, hammer, Nail gun too.
    another White Terrorist

    August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      Exactly, Joe. A madman doesn't care about cops caring guns, he's concerned about citizens caring guns. All crazy, delusional people asses only when citizens carry guns. And it was so obvious, when a guy with an eye patch, metal hand, and petting a cat is walking around, he must be the bad guy. 'Cause all bad people look the part, right? And when 10 people with guns pull out there gun, when they hear gun fire, they are automatically able to distinguish the bad guy.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      That is a known FACT. And it was proven time after time on Die Hard I, II, and III. Not to mention all Lethal Weapon movies.

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

      Did you even read the story? he targeted one person, killed them, ran away and was shot by police. the other victims were injured by police.... how would a conceal carry permit holder (which is possible in NY) have helped at all? The police need more practice on using their weapons.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dee Mee

    NYPD Is a joke!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Celeste Keller

    Has the question been asked whether he was receiving unemployment benefits? If the he was denied continued benefits could this have prompted the shooting?

    August 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rich

    Reminder Readers. Twenty-three( 23 )states do not disclose information on their citizens to the "background check" system. Back ground checks are only as good and accurate as those who help provide information. While we are continue to be told how good the back ground checking system is.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • 454

      The background check is especially effective with criminals....not!

      August 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jim

    it is to bad that anti gun mayor bloomberg has police that can't practice enough to shoot straight and end up doing more harm than the gunman,gunman 1 police 2 plus many wounded.it is terrible anyone was killed or hurt but for the police to be so bad and for the mayor to offer his usual tripe is also terrible.he should move to israel and join the defense force to learn some reality, versus his believe that really rich can say anything.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lis

    Does the policie have to kill ..... And hurt innocent people who was just walking by, non lethal weapons ...

    August 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mark

    Of course this shooting was terrorism. It will frighten people away from visiting the Empire State Building, or maybe even New York City. A terrorist doesn't just kill his victims–he inflicts harm on strangers he's never met too.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nobamain12

    Terrible reporting as usual. "The victim was Johnson's former coworker at a was a "disgruntled former employee" who shot a former" a former what?? There isn't even a period to end the sentence? I wonder how many innocent bystanders the police shot. NYPD has a terrible track record in this area. We saw video just the week of a NYPD officer discharging this weapon into concrete at a short range from bystanders.

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

      I watched the story unfold on television as I had just awakened here on the West Coast. By the time the mayor of New York started speaking, the story had changed completely. I think the media will say anything just to get their story out first. Remember when the dead person was a young innocent bystander? A female? And on and on with poor info. Maybe it is best to wait an hour before watching the coverage to get to the truth.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allah Ackbarf

      Who in the hell thought that a shotgun was used for the news to report that?

      Was it the news sensationalizing or do people of NY just not know the difference between a shotgun and a handgun?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. djm159

    Did this unstable moron have a registered handgun or a "Saturday night special?" I, and everyone else, have the right to defend themselves. If there is no desire to ban illegal handguns then you must allow legal weapons. These mass shootings make headlines, but in South Florida that is a concealed carry state, everyone just looks the other way when unregistered handguns are used, usually in African-American communities where illegal guns are paramount. That doesn't make the people they were used on any less dead. The drive-bys that kill innocent children who are doing nothing wrong is what needs to be addressed. Not registered handgun owners. There are nuts everywhere of assorted varieties but unregistered handguns are an epidemic, but no one is addressing that. In New York City and other cities they are just going after registered gun owners and letting the criminals have a free pass. I guess in the grand scheme of things. super size sodas and salt are much more lethal than unregistered guns, especially from a politically correct nut job on his third term without the cajones to address the real and serious problems and risk being called a racist.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimh77

      Amen!!

      August 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ali

    I wonder if police should just pursue and call back-up before they start shooting? I have heard one too many stories of innocent people getting caught in the crossfire or in fatal car accidents. I am not sure it is a good judgement call on their part to put other people at risk in that way. If we want to have less "crazy people" with guns (even though I do think they could be better regulated, even in a state that has such strict gun laws), we probably should take better care of our mentally ill.

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

    Good the police did their job not taking him into custody; this saved lots of taxpayers the bs of continual news coverage of a needless trial by jury.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldScribe2010

      But the police shot innocent people while shooting at the gunman.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. muslimboy

    We need to start profiling White American males..wait that won't happen they aren't brown.

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

      Like two years ago, in downtown Orlando, also an ex employee was the shooter, and I believe he was PR. So crazy people comes in all ethnics and skin colors. Stop the racism.

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