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. KCEddie

    There were some Big Gulp's and some Salt Shakers found at the scene. Mayor Nanny promises to Crackdown !

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

    CNN and other news outlets are trying to portray this incident as a mass shooting when the police shot more people when responding to the murder, but that is ok and even heroic according to bloomberg. #checkyourdefinitionsbloomberg

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

      NYPD sure are doing their best to not talk about the other victim THEY killed. 34th street is always packed with people so they should have worked out a scenario beforehand to use plain clothes officers to sidle up to him and then grab him before he goes into the bag/briefcase to grab the gun. They need to put plainclothes officers to better use since they enjoy harassing teenagers coming from summer school going to summer internships and using a student metrocard. These two big burly men harass this child and hold her for hours.
      All this show of force is for the purpose of showing everyone that they're no longer the police but a military unit and this is a police state. There are now all these toys for them to play with and they're just itching to use them. Now they're calling this guy a terrorist He's no terrorist, he just went postal. Others have been high as a kite, stupidly holding a knife at armed officers so of course that means they ALL have to shoot at him when just one gun and one bullet would suffice. That's it. One shot would have had the nut on the ground.

      August 25, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Wow

    what is the point of gun control if it doesnt work...

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

      We don't have gun control – that's why it doesn't work.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      What gun control?

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

    Did NYC gun laws prevent this shooting? Maybe they need to add more gun laws. That will stop the next guy.
    Absurd.

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

      Just like capital punishment prevents capital crimes. Wait, people still commit capital crimes.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nurich

    This entire report must be a mistake. Couldn't be NY. NY has one of the strongest gun laws of the country.

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

    Even though this happens on a weekly basis in the United States we will not even utter the words gun control because that has already been decided. If our gun policy is so effective why have no other countries adopted it?

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

      We don't have gun control, that's the point. Gun Control would and should mean:

      30 Day Waiting Period
      Required Gun Training
      Required Gun Licensing
      Required Psychological Testing
      Banning Online Gun Sales
      Banning Gun Sales at Mass Retailers like WalMart
      Limiting Gun Sales to Licensed Brick and Mortar Gun Sellers
      Banning Gun Shows like those in Virginia where you can walk up without an form of ID, pay cash and walk out with
      as many assault weapons as you can carry
      The NRA makes sure that Corporate Profit for Murder exists with bribes and donations
      We Need to Run our Gun Business based on the points listed above and then, and only then will you see a precipitous
      drop in gun violence.

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

      I concur "Huh?".. these are all sound points!! Protecting the 2nd amendment by ensuring those who have guns understand what the right to bear arms means! and it also means that they can legally posses firearms.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beavis

      Not utter "gun control"? This happened in New York City you moron. They have some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. You insult mankind.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. wu

    "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. "

    It doesn't matter if he was shooting at police or not when he was killed. This kind of crime, just shoot to kill. It sends out a strong message to those crazy heads that they will meet the end if they do this kind of crimes. Good job whoever the policemen who shot to death this crazy head. That policemen is a hero. This is the first time I feel good to know that the suspect actually being shot dead. Not like James Holmes, get to sit in the court and waste more resource and man power and other people's emotions.

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

    Thanks for being the first idiot on this comment board to label the shooter a Liberal. There is nothing to indicate this. Go hug your Romney doll for security.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Alicia

    Well. there some really good lawsuits now for NYC to pay for..... cops are never supposed to fire unless they have a clear shot, away from innocents. This isn't a frikkin Hollywood movie you jerks.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. simpleton

    what is gun control

    August 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Demonfeed

    The shooting aside, CNN and FOX have two completely different accounts of the incident so far. CNN says the police may have shot the civilians, while the FOX page says the shooter opened fire on random people. I made two text copies of each news agencies' stories, and we are going to see which one is telling the truth.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. alanwillingham

    Bloomberg's warning that the Police shooting innocent bystanders is another reason to take away their guns is far worse than him forbidding them to have contraband snacks and large soft drinks. The people of NYC have to decide how far they will allow him to go in making certain they are defenseless when confronted by life threatening danger.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. David

    All these people saying wee need fewer guns when the mass shooting was on the police. lol

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

      I smell a lawsuit (or nine)

      August 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. N

      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. When it comes to crimes that have ended with armed civilians stopping the threat, there is usually a very telling lack of collateral damage. Go read. Educate yourself.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. N

      Sorry for the above, David. I misread your post.

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

    they don't go into a lot of detail about "some may have been accidentally shot by the police."

    August 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Emigdio Alvarez

    I don't know why people are bashing the NYPD. try shooting at a moving target surrounded by multiple people running around. THESE ARE NORMAL COPS PEOPLE, NOT NAVY SEALS! besides, no one died from the police's actions except the shooter.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. N

      The funny part is that even 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. There are studies on that matter.

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

      I agree. Can you imagine if armed citizens were the responders? Armed perpetrator shoots someone. Armed citizens pulls out his gun to shoot the perp. A second armed citizen pulls his/her gun to shoot but doesn't know which of the two armed people is the perp. The cops show up and see three people with guns. The end.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I think the point people are making is that gun nuts say if everybody was armed nobody would ever get hurt – reasonable people interject that having shootouts is a much worse situation and this most certainly supports their claim as these were trained police officers and not civilians who injured innocent bystanders with friendly fire.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
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