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. mercfan

    @DanNY – Most people in NYC during the day come from outside NY. Maybe we should check ever car, bus, train entering the city each day?

    August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. BoyHowdie

    I'm glad we won't have to waste tax dollars on prosecuting and feeding this guy in jail.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. dklo

    Hey dom u,

    read Heller vs DC. The supreme court ruled the second amendment is an INDIVIDUAL RIGHT, not associated with militia activity.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • scarf

      And the Dred Scott decision said blacks weren't citizens. The Supreme Court makes stupid decisions all the time. But, they sometimes are eventually changed.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. Thank God

    Another reason not to live in NYC- the most irritating, noisy, loud and obnoxious city on the planet.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Zombie Iron Chef America

      I really just hate it for the smell of sauteed garbage and boiled urine during the summer. Otherwise, NYC is the single greatest city on the planet.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. vdanker

    Just another day in NRA's America.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ericson

    No reason to politicize this, folks. Let's just pray for the victims and their families.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Zombie Iron Chef America

      Insisting we pray actually IS politicizing it. I feel bad for the families of the dead, but praying 1) won't bring the dead/ wounded life/ health, 2) is waste of time given the lack of tangible evidence of a God of any sort.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. USA Wake Up

    I wonder how many shootings it will take before we here in the US realize we have a gun issue. For those who will stand behind the 2nd Amendment, it was written to defend citizens against British invaders. It was not intended so every citizen could carry assault guns or carry guns into malls and schools. Than there are those who will say the gun was not owned legally. Well at one point the gun was purhased legally, it was than stolen or sold at some swap meet. The issue is there are too many guns to easily accesible. We here in the US tell others how great our country is, however we fall behind every other industrialized country in all major social stats. Highest murder rate, 10 times more than most nations, highest rate of inmates, 20 times more than most nations. Higest gun crimes, 50 times than some nations. Lowest birth rate (measures health care). Highest rich-poor gap. Highest rate of racial intolerance (measured by UN) Plus we are the only nation without universal healthcare.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Cole

      Umm Wake up.... We just Blasted all these other nations in the Olympics... AND RE-Landed on mars. Now go buy yourself a gun and KCCO.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • crazeelegs

      Your comment has waay to much logical sense for many here.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. James

    Wow all those gun control laws in NY really make a difference? Good job. Only the criminals and government will have guns if the liberals have a say. great idea

    August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. stevep65

    This is obviously a hoax story, as everyone knows guns are banned in NYC.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Volcano0201

    This country of United States Of America most be loving this kind of news where bullet are flying all over the place for the 4th time withing a month while the good people are getting destroy like me where if I would not leave new,york city I could have been gun down by the law just like Andrew from Leesburgh Florida on Sunday July 15,2012 at his own living place at 2am or having evidence planted against me to send me to jail for no reason with the 10 time they went to my living place while making noise to enter it where their was no selling of illegal drugs or hand guns going on and still to the date no 1 have help me with this dangerous situation that I confronted in 2007 at my own living place of 530 East 137 St Apt-4-B Bronx New,York 10454 and if you could help me with this matter dont be afraid to contact me through volcano0201@live.com thank you because some 1 like the neighbors of my surrounding of the apt could have drop dead of a heart attack just with the noise that took place less

    August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. bookswagger

    I am going to wait for the details before I jump to conclusions but it sickened me to hear this.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. kbonethomas

    And 13 in Chicago! What's going on!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. Pete

    Here comes the republican extremist finger pointing saying its the presidents fault because of the economy and they'll throw in the NRA gun law crap as well.Just as assenine as that unpatriotic Seal telling all about he and his collegues kills as Special Ops members,real American ha!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Tarek

      You know where they're not banned? New Jersey... a 20 minute PATH ride away.

      And what a sad and pathetic man you must be to see five innocent people get shot on the news and think "See! See!!! People still kill each other when there are laws prohibiting their sale and distribution!"

      August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Skywalker

      Put the whiskey bottle down...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • No

      People like you are pure garbage. 10 people got shot and all you can do is rant about partisan politics. For the love of god at least wait an hour after the crime to do that.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. kathleenbernadette

    If we were allowed to carry weapons legally here, someone could've shot back at him instead of allowing him to continue to shoot innocent people.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • BillyRay

      Yea..that is all we need is more stray bullets flying around in public, shot by some hysterical person. Good call.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      Exactly, that way when they miss a couple times as they are not trained to shoot at others, they hit more innocent people and kill them.

      I am all for having guns, but just some random banker guy on the corner railing off a few shots when he is in distress is not going to solve the problem. If you feel so confident, make sure you are on the side of the street away from where the other guy is shooting as you know you wont get hit.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • YouAreDumb

      Yes, because what's needed in New York City is even more lax gun laws. Let's really make it more exciting by giving everyone in New York guns. Cross-fire from random civilians in a fire fight with a psycho would certainly save lives and not kill even more passers-by.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      An UNARMED guard chased him off and the cops shot him. Is that not good enough for you?

      What armchair warriors like you fail to realize is that, in real life, it's not always possible to use your gun. Too many people around. No clear shot. No way to shoot safely. Fortunately most citizens who actually find themselves in this situation recognize the downsides and act appropriately...while people like you sputter on about how the mere fact of having a gun automatically means the guy would have been shot and stopped.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Yes, arm everyone. Then we can have every untrained weekend warrior firing at everything they think is a threat. Just like the middle east – I particularly love the openess of gun ownership there- particularly cute when that toddler imitated his dad shooting into the air at a wedding and shot and killed his dad! Wheeee! Arm everyone!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Tarek

      Believe it or not, Kathleen, there are people allowed to carry guns in NYC. They're called police officers. Not only that, but they responded to the incident and I believe it's now being reported that the gunman was shot.

      If your argument is that if we were all John Wayne-esque quickdraws, then yes, I suppose someone could have shot this person before they shot all five people. But if we're playing in a world of insane wishes that it would take for everyone to be a reponsible quickdraw, I prefer to dream in the other direction where no one has a gun and thus no one gets shot.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      You're stupid move to Canada

      August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • StupidKathleen

      Yeah, that's the solution! Let's arm everybody! Violent crime rates will surely go down!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      More people packing? Yah, just like the movies, huh? Some good guy whips out his gun and blows away the bad guy before he has a chance of doing anything. Uh huh. So innocent people hit by an amateur gunman in the confusion.

      More people packing? With all the anger in the country about every little thing, you would have a lot of dead Airline Counter workers!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • JollyD

      YOU have obviously never been to Manhattan. More people with guns in a crowded city leads to more people killed by bullets.
      Moron!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • FoolKiller

      BillyRay – Your problem is that you assume everyone one would reactly as poorly as you would. We get it... guns scare you so you couldn't (wouldn't) use one properly. Guess what? A lot of us could, and would.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • joker

      Yeah, right. Next thing you know everybody's shooting everyone, cause they don't know who pulled the trigger first. Most of you think that when a person starts shooting, everything is clear for the people around, when in reality everybody is shaking in panic. Add guns and you have total carnage. Would they know who started shooting in the crowd? Doubt it. Everyone with a gun on spot would be considered a target, cause they (civies) wouldn't know if that's the good or the bad guy.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Casey

      The logic behind these statements escapes me. Have you actually thought about what this scenario could have been like if civilians had been carrying guns? One guy pulls out a gun to stop the first guy with a gun. Then a third guy sees the guy that's trying to stop the first guy and shoots him thinking he's the original gunman. Its just a recipe for disaster.

      The most effective way to stop gun violence is to get rid of guns. There's really no arguing around that. Compare the US gun violence with other countries. Its insanity.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • FoolKiller

      Kay – You make our point for us... all an UNARMED guard could do is chase him... not stop him. Maybe none of the dead could have stopped him if they were armed... but we will never know will we? Not that that is your fault or anything... oh, wait....

      August 24, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • tere78

      Really? That's your suggestion to keep our streets safe? Good job!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • bahhb66

      I am not for or against gun control.I own guns,but believe there are those who probably shouldn't.

      Let me put this another way....those who believe we should have no control at all...Do you drive?
      think about all the idiots one encounters on a simple trip to the store,and then ask yourself....Do I really believe that the world would be a better place if all these idiots had a gun?

      I am thinking that perhaps we could make some sort of compromise between both sides,like maybe a sanity test before allowing someone to pack,just a thought

      August 24, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Sane?

    If gun laws aren't the problem, why doesn't this happen on a weekly basis in other countries? It does of course in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, where everyone has a gun (NRA heaven). But are those countries really safer with easy access to guns? I don't think so. Norway's incident was the worst in its history. Here in the U.S. it's a weekly occurrence.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Horus

      mass murder of 77 mostly teens over political ideology occurs here every week?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • asr3

      Yes, we have massacres of 77 people on a weekly basis.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
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