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. Denver

    They allow people to carry guns in NYC? Who knew? Oh! wait . . .

    When carrying firearms is against the law, only law breakers will have firearms.

    Are we safe yet?

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

      The the police who have the guns must also be criminals.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allah Ackbarf

      Security Theater: Pun intended!

      August 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jaco J

    Also why should I, a hard working citizen, who is working to pay off my own debt (100k in student loans) pay for the debt of OTHERS (congress) who are spending like crazy!! Even if I could pay extra in taxes (already paying 30% not including sales and other taxes) I WOULD NOT. Congress needs to control their spending!!!!

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

    The Romney Elephant Gang is even more derisive than O
    & has not stated how it could bring estranged citizens back into the american quilt.
    Why would a black person want to continue supporting a country
    that set up their man for a horrible tradgedy ? One could go on with many other exclude groups
    that the so called right does not like.

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

    I believe that most law abiding citizens should have a right to own a gun. The only dilemma I have is when bring up past events like the Colorado movie theater shooting, Norway, etc... Is that if we were all armed & a shooting occurred in a public gathering the confusion & the sight of every person pulling out their guns to confront the shooter, the collateral damage from everybody shooting would cause total chaos & possibly more people would get hurt. Also, it would be hard to identify who are the bad guys & who are the good guys until the all the smoke is cleared, so to speak.

    If well-trained cops accidental shoot innocent bystanders while trying to shoot the actual perpetrator like it happened today at ESB; it definitely can occur with a concealed gun owner trying to a hero...

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

      Never pull a gun unless you intend to use it.

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

    Bloomberg...blah. National problem of gun violence?? Maybe national problem of unemployment......

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

    So...once again we have proof that gun control doesnt work. The only people who cant get guns will be law-abiding citizens...law-breakers will still have access to guns via unlawful methods.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. parabolid71

    So Johnson (gunman) killed one former coworker, fled on foot, then police shot him, that is 2. The other 9 were shot in exchange between him and police, most of them by police, and major praised the police? What for? For shooting inocent bystanders. That is nice. Nice job police.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Earnest T Bass

    What did that gun do wrong before this sick person picked it up? don't point any fingers the wrong way.Why what would you say if he'd used a different type of tool?

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

    See my prior post. You logic doesn't hold up.

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

    Another person DEAD because of the invention of the GUN!!!
    How many people have been killed by guns? What a great invention huh?

    But I have the right to buy one so that I can protect myself.... from others with guns. Guns. More guns.
    How long until you can buy one from a vending machine?

    The NRA and Gov't can make more money that way, let's allow it. Where are my rights to easy, quick-access guns?

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

    I can see it now… in a gun free future: John sees this event unfold and pulls out his weapon to stop it. Jack hears the shots, sees John with the gun, figures John is the threat and draws his weapon and starts shooting at him. Billy and Jenny see Jack and John with weapons and figure this has to be a terrorist attack. Thankfully, they are armed and will stop this atrocity… the event exponentially grows and 15 minutes later when the police arrive they are faced with a chaotic downtown shootout. How many dead would we have then?

    Owning the gun is not the problem, using the gun is not the problem. Knowing when to use the gun IS the problem. Situational awareness, calm and collective thinking can’t be taught in a weekend class or at the shooting range. That is what scares me and why I am for gun control.

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

      This only happens in your warped mind.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • kingghidora

      When exactly has this type of scenario played out except in the muddled mind of some liberal? The FACTS are that places where the people are unable to protect themselves are the places where mass shootings take place. Schools, theaters, churches and now NYC. Your bobble headed philosophy is pure fantasy so far. The facts are totally opposite of what you describe. Law abiding people with guns stop killings. There are countless examples of this and NONE of your wacky theory.

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

      where have you ever seen some stop one of the people with a gun, other than the police? never.

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

      Well said.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jhowa

    maybe bloomburg needs to pass a law not to lay people off....

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

      yes bloomberg->obama was responsible for layoff, i hate layoff but at 53 he will have nothing to survive, what the govt is doing?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Truth

    The grammar is wrong but the sentiment is correct. 'Chink'? Y'all liberals are the REAL racists!

    August 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jqent

    I assume you will be the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention. Congratulations.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. simpleton

    super duper background checks maybe? or you can only own a gun if you've never been a loner! those lone wolfs are crazy..

    August 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
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