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. Wildernessyes

    2nd amendment terrorism

    August 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kitts

    Looks like someone escaped the loony bin...

    August 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. newyorker

    The only shooting rampage that went on was by the cops!!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jqent

    "Some may have been accidentally shot by police officers," Kelly said."

    The obvious answer to those NRA drones who always howl for arming everybody... if trained police wound bystanders, what would a bunch a trigger-happy amateurs do?

    August 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. N

      Much better. Go do some research: The average gun enthusiast is a much better shot than the average cop, because the average gun owner shoots for fun and shoots more often. Plenty of studies on the matter. Educate yourself.

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

      Maybe shot him before he even got a chance to run. Your speculation is about as useless as mine...just sayin...

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

      However, since these amateurs would not be in uniform, how do they know which gun-waving person to shoot? Would they have to politely ask, "Pardon me, but are you the gunman, or a fellow NRA member–OUCH!"

      August 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • JamesCanby

      Most of the people I know who carry either openly or concealed for self-defense generally go to the range and practice more often than the average police officer. They understand the responsibility they take on when they carry, know the law better than the average police officer, and generally go to the range to practice accurate shooting more often than do the police. Characterizing law abiding citizens who are prepared to defend themselves as "gun nuts," "toothless hicks" or other pejoratives betrays ignorance on the part of the speaker.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Allah Ackbarf

    It's hard to be afraid when the news sensationalizes, the witnesses get the facts wrong, and the police injure more people than the gunman did.

    Gun-control is fear and fear does not prevent crimes like this.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jim

    Sounds to me like over-zealous cops. They shot him when he was fleeing. Typical NYPD.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Buddy

    The police probably shot everyone but the coworker.

    I wonder what the co-worker did to the shooter to drive him off the deep end????

    August 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bert Z

    Yes, Its not wright going out and killing someone, But what push this man over the edge, Maybe he was fired wrongly? Maybe he could not find another job after being fired wrongly, Maybe it was a dis-GRUNTLE EMPLOYER????
    There needs to be more "EMPLOYEE RIGHTS", Instead of this fire at will crap that is in place now, Again i do not think what this man did was wright, But there is nothing out there to stop employers from destroying good workers lives for no reason.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • sassysticks53

      I don't care what may have pushed this guy over the edge! He was let go a year ago and now he comes back to shoot a co-worker? You're point is not lost on me, but I think it's misplaced. Surely, you're not defending this guy!

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

      @sassysticks53,
      No i am not defending is actions, I'm defending his right to work and make a living.
      I have been in his shoes and still trying to recover from being screwed big time by 2 companies in the past 2 years, I proved my case in both but what did it get me, Unemployment, While the losers that screwed me are still making a living and providing for their families...Again shooting someone is wrong, But this is were we are at in the work force, Companies can let someone go for no reason even though they were a loyal hard working employee, What else do you think would happen, This is just the beginning, Thousands come off of unemployment next week here in connecticut, I wouldn't be surprised if something like this happens here.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Upgdot

    Really, you base that on what?

    August 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Malakia

    ONLY law enforcement and government should have gun access. Guns are not important. BAN and CONFISCATE all guns now!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • gager

      Try to get my gun and I'll see you first.

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

      Some people just live in fear. Gun-control is impotent. Criminals do not follow rules.

      Don't live in fear.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Russian Federation

    Mass murderers, burglars, thieves, child molestors / pedophiles, rapists, kidnappers – They all get away with their crimes here in USA. In USA, you send these type of criminals to jail for five-years and they get out in two. In Russia we send these type of criminals to Siberia. Over there, they are required to perform forced hard-labor for 20+ years to life, or until they drop-dead from the -60°F below zero temperatures. Bottom line – USA has too much freedom and it seems the criminals have more rights than the actual victims and/or their families. Things need to change in the USA. I am not proposing Soviet style society, but rather, Russian Federation society. We are now a democracy, but we limit freedoms so that no one gets away with heinous crimes against our citizens.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • jqent

      Including all-girl bands who merely criticize the Russian president...

      August 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl Hungus

      Yes, and get thrown in jail for insulting Mr. Putin. I will take my freedom of speach and dodge the bullets(or return fire). By the way, in case you havent noticed, Russia is not exactly democratic. It is slowly slipping into what it used to be. Mr. Putin will make sure of that. Its a shame, I have been there and the people are really great.....

      August 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl Hungus

      I do, however, agree that the Russian prison system is certainly more of a deterrent than ours. Siberia is a very unforgiving land.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. whaaat

    i said prayer changes things

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

      Prayer make people think that things have changed whenever something good randomly happens.

      This is a tragedy. Banning guns will have no effect on the people who do things like this.

      The weapon had only 8 rounds. Does that make this crime better than others?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fixer2010

    Your post seems a tad redundant in itself.

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

      I don't think the shooter or the victim cares about political leanings.

      The injured people probably just would like to get better. The police injured more people than the gunmen, and killed just as many.

      It's a tie. 1-1

      August 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon

      Imagine if we had all citizens armed like some gun crazies suggest. If the police, with their training shot people, imagine what some average joe would have done. There probably would have been 50 dead.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JackAlias

    Stop the world, I want to get off!

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

    In all these mass shootings, if the killer only had a knife rather than a gun capable of rapid fire, far fewer people would have died. Contradict that NRA proponents.

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

      If they outlaw both guns and knives not only will criminals still use guns and knives, but they will use their backup weapon of Chik-Fil-A sandwiches! 15 round chicken sandwich magazines.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guns are not the problem.

      The problem is not about making it harder for idiots to kill many people. The problem is to scare them off completely before they'll start.

      You won't go to a police precinct to shut anyone. There are people trained and armed there to protect this area. The same goes for any other location. We can clearly see that we can't count on cops or security. Google Brevik's case. They showed after an hour. Great.

      It doesn't matter if he had a gun or a pocket knife. In both cases he can kill someone and probably more than one person.

      Give people ways to defend them self and train them how to do it. Then there will be always someone near to take down an attacker, preferably as soon as he starts, not after he finishes.

      Read the recent news about attempted bombings in airplanes. People know that they can't count on "we'll fly to cuba and you're going to be free". They pinned down an attacker just as he started. This is the way. Not the "run for your life" and "oooh... he had a gun, we'll take it away from him and there won't be another similar problem".

      One more thing. You can always get an illegal gun. Everywhere in the world. No matter how strict the gun control is in that country.

      I'll throw classic internet car analogy. It is better to have good brakes than good airbags. Prevent the accident instead of making it less severe.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • It Is The Patriot's Duty To Defeat Barack Obama

      Then arm the police with only knives.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
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