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. Stand Down Cheney

    Looks like the cops need some more training on the range. They shot more people than the gunman. Spray and pray I guess.

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

      Like I said, THEY'RE NOT NAVY SEALS!

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

      i thought the communist gun laws in New york protected people from things like this?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • rahul

      so if we arm all the bystanders – no one gets accidentally shot, right?

      .....right?

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

      Communist? ok.. take a breath, then think about what you are saying..

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

    not on my watch..

    August 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ismet

    I have commented on the killings in Colorado and Sikh temple and I will say the same thing again. As long as media gives these people attention and treats them like stars for few days following their shooting be sure there will be more of those homicidal maniacs seeking attention.

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

      Unless they're left wingers attacking conservative organizations.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. asdefsdfdsf

    C4 and RPGs don’t kill people, people kill people, therefore C4 and RPGs should be legal... We could add MBTs too, that would be even more fun…

    August 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Greg

    Undoubtedly Mayor Bloomberg will want to call for strict gun control in NYC........Oh wait, NYC already has the strictest gun control laws!

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

      Absolutely, so it goes to show how his gun control is going. He is a hack.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. thebeast

    Its time to get the guns. America is not longer mature enough...

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

      "not". you need to go back to grammar school.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. amanda

    Here we go, here come all the morons with the the "let's ban guns in america" BS. If you want to go live in the Ukraine or Poland where you have no freedoms, be my guess....just get out of my country.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wawa 6380

      Thank you! These idiots who blame gun control just get under my skin

      August 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ......

      It's more than just your country.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • nyos

      Why do you insult Poland ?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1812overature

      Amanda I have 2 Honorable Discharges from the U.S. Army, born in Nebraska, there is know rhyme or reason for guns in the hands of civilians. Johnny Reb thought they could leave the U.S.. Johnny Reb had guns and found out it doesn't pay to tell Uncle Sam no, that ended states rights, by the way.
      Pack your bags Amanda I'm a 100% American, and it's time for this foolishness with guns to go.
      One more thing.....Obama & Biden.....2012, because it is the right thing to do.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim g

      amanda-"get out of my country"? aren't you embarrased for saying something so stupid?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. blerg

    Yay guns!

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

      OMG! We need to ban all guns! Those evil little things just continually sprout legs and for no reason kill people! Wow! Pay no attention to what's attach to the gun, which happens to be a person, that's irrelevant..../sarc off.

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

    I thought guns were tightly controlled, regulated and illegal to carry on a New York street? Where is Herr Bloomberg's gun control on this? AND it sounds as if the NYPD were far more dangerous to the bystanders than the actual shooter.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. svann

    Gunman shoots 1, cops open fire hitting 8 more?

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

    You make me want to ban all guns for all people. Just keep up your stupid rants.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Emigdio Alvarez

    they said some, not all. also, they're not navy seals.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Amr Azim

    Fist of all you have mis-spelled Muslim. Second, your conclusion is based on what? Did the gunman that shot many people in Auroa, CO movie theatre – was Muslim? No he was not! He was 100% White American Christian. Please educate yourself first. You are not worthy to say your comments on CNN.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. zandhcats

    Obviously you don't understand what does socialism mean, and don't read the real journalists but pseudo kind. Obama cut the a lot of social programs and spend least than his predecessors.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 1812overature

    Another gun incident, so we know more gun laws won't help. What to do? Simple, you want to end unlawful gun play in America...tax guns and ammo!!! Increase the tax every six months until all these kooks and criminals can no longer afford to play with guns and ammo.
    What about the 2nd Amendment you say? Simple, allow 1 musket to every house old in America, this amendment comes from 1776. a weapon of choice for that time period was a single shot. We don't need Moses with a gun in this era.

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

      The criminals would still have better, much better, weapons.

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