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.

Are you there? Share your story

• 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. Rongmal

    Sounds like NYPD need more target practice.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 454

    Unlike, say, the people shooting each other every day in Chicago and every other major city? I guess when it happens so often MSM doesn't consider it news.

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

    It sounds like most of the gun violence was from the Bloomberg police department.

    If only Bloomberg's and Obama's policies didn't cause so many people to lose their jobs, maybe this wouldn't have had to happen.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. OldScribe2010

    I would think the NYPD would be more careful if they have to discharge their firearms on a crowded sidewalk during the day. Here, they likely did more harm than good.

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

      it's most likely a grazing. try shooting at a specific moving target surrounded by other moving target. you're obviously gonna hit the others.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alex

    I truly can't stand Bloomberg. He HAD to get that line in there didn't he? If anything, this proves that gun laws DON'T work. Guns are for all practical purposes, banned in NYC, yet this happened. So just shut up Nanny Mike.

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

    THANK YOU for your comments. I, too, get tired of dragging the president into every blog no matter what the topic matter. Those who do this need to find a job and become productive citizens. It is obvious some good hard work, like ditch digging, might keep their minds off trashing the president.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. How do you know

    with a name like Dixie – I am not surprised you wqould write this – Dallas = Way way way more crime-ridden than NYC – and segregated, I might add

    August 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    All those gun control laws and yet this still happened in NYC. I guess Bloomburg needs even more laws to keep stuff like this from happening ever again. Afterall, stricter laws would have prevented this from happening. Rachel Maddow would attest to this reasoning.

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

      The problem now is, since innocent people were hit by police bullets, Bloomberg will likely call for banning cops from having guns.

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

      You don't know where he got the gun so be quiet.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobNC

      You're right New York needs more laws, the guy probably just could get a large coke.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      California has strict gun laws and now has the worst gun crime rate. Get it? Making guns illegal is a gangsters dream come true.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myself

      Just to be clear. We don't need more gun laws. Perhaps the only thing we need is someone to analyze a person psychologically before selling a gun to them. I don't personally own a gun, however I have in the past.
      Guns are a fundamental right in this country. However someone who's paranoid, schizophrenic, or any other malady can and will find a way to get a weapon of any kind if they would actually choose to take someone else's life.
      Keep in mind that a common steak knife (or for that matter even a sturdy pencil) could be used if someone wanted to kill somebody. Should we also legislate who can purchase kitchen utensils?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michael

    First, please spell "loser" right.....Secondly, Obama is not splitting America. One person, not even the President, can do that on his own. People in society do that themselves when it comes to stereotyping and looking at people differently who don't "fit in" into what they think is up to par in this country. So "One Chinese Student", do your homework first and get your head out of the sand if you think that any one person can change how you think about yourself and others.

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

      You are way too cogent. Stop making sense.

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

    Too bad NY doesn't have conceal carry. This would have ended almost as soon as it began and the cops wouldn't have shot so many people.

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

      Right, the cops wouldn't have shot so many people... instead, the concealed-carry civilians, not knowing who the original shooter was, would have shot each other, as well as any bystanders who couldn't get out of the way.

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

    Seek help.

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

    wow you are annoying

    August 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sassysticks53

    OMG! Somebody call a doctor! This poster is looney and needs his medication NOW!

    August 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kelly

    uhhh......

    August 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The1

    Kinda defeats the point of "protect and serve".

    August 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fixer2010

      I would rather be wounded by a cop than killed by a criminal. Just sayin.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99