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. NotInterestedDontCare

    The gunman was not a moslem so I think this is not a terrorist incident.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MedullaPancreas

    One guy shoots a coworker and everyone gets shot up by cops trying to put down the perp fleeing the scene? BAN ALL GUNS FOR COPS!!! "We'd all be safer" if cops didn't have guns.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nobamain12

    Wow – maybe Bloomberg should worry about enforcing gun laws in NYC instead of every other state in the nation. Perhaps the gunman was disgruntled because he couldn't get a large soda with his fries...

    August 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Relativ0

    I guess the 28th amendment should be "the right to bear an anti bullet vest"

    August 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anita

    Why is it that no one is commenting on the fact that nine other people were injured when police opened fire on the gunman. It did not state that the gunman ever got another shot off other than the three that killed the initial victim. That means that nine innocent by-standers were shot because the police officers negligently fired into a crowd. Shouldn't they have taken ito consideration that others could be wounded or killed if every officer opened fire at the gunman at once and you would think with their training that one officer would have been able to take out the shooter with one bullet.

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

      "you would think with their training that one officer would have been able to take out the shooter with one bullet."

      Don't base your perception of reality with what you see on TV.

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

      No one is commenting because it is an asinine position.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonn b good

      its obamas falt,no,jobs,no,money,

      August 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyfire

      It is a tragic day when anryone is killed. But lets look at the reported information right now, what training does the NYC police have that they actually shoot nine people? I would hope they have some sort of training ,this is not the wild west where you just shoot and see what falls?????

      August 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris in ohio

      That nine bystanders were wounded is unacceptable. NYPD police officers are notoriously poorly trained in the use of their firearms. Knowing when not to shoot is as important as knowing when to shoot.

      Training in shooting under stress training should be mandatory and ongoing.

      Chris
      Firearms instructor since 1992

      August 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fixer2010

    Gun laws are very strict in NY. Your sarcastic comment means diddly-squat in this instance.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. solrac503

    What they should be doing is when people buy guns, the clerk should ask if the person is a 'bad' or 'good' person. Bad guys would be given older, less desirable weapons, while good guys would have more advanced weapons. We should make it mandatory if you're a bad guy to wear a sign, or some distinguishing mark, so when 10 people draw their gun when shots fire we would be able to identify the bad person quicker and avoid hitting the good guys.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      This strategy has proven to work in Die Hard I, II, and III. As well as all Lethal Weapon movies. Dispute those facts, you gun suppressors.

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

      I am convinced by your irrefutable logic. Tell me more.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get A Clue

      New York has some of the harshest requirements for fire arms in the nation.
      ew York is one of the strictest states in the nation with regards to the purchase, possession and carrying of handguns.[1] Most of New York State gun laws are covered in two sections of New York Penal law: article 265 – Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons; and article 400 – Licensing and Other Provisions Relating to Firearms. These sections include the banning of possession of a handgun, exemptions to the handgun ban, including to those who have a license to carry, possess, hunt with and target shoot, repair, and dispose of firearms.

      Buy a clue.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      Well, if you see someone wearing an eye patch, metal hand and petting a cat, then we should have legal right to question and detain him, if not shoot him first and ask questions later.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gr8nesnu

      we need to be real there are over 400 million guns in the U.S. so all the gun deaths would amount ot less than 1% of gun in the country. There are mmoore death by cars, knives, food & medical than by guns percentage. why not do away with all thing that my kill but not that which dose the killig PEOPLE! We have to be smarter than this.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucas

      Yeah, that's a great idea. You should run for president.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jim Musgrave

    So, let me get this straight. If we allow everybody to carry a gun, then we would prevent this kind of thing from happening? Un, ten people wounded by "trained" police officers? What if all the civilans had guns in this scene? Fifty people wounded, ten people dead? More carnage?

    August 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • mortalc01l

      EXACTLY!!!! This is what the numbskull Gun Fetishists don't get! More UNTRAINED people with guns in an emotional, dangerous situation = A LOT MORE DEAD PEOPLE.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Musgrave, Jr

      Never happen, dad.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?!?!

      Not exaclty, but your on the right track. Do the math, if someone is about to commit a shooting but the chances of the 50 people around them is at least 50%...odds are that person wont commit that crime because the victrims and bystanders are equipped to handle that type of situation. When you strip people of their rights to bear arms the criminals dont get that memo and this is a perfect example, the criminal had a gun so you think its such a great idea that noone else did and more people got hurt...rethink your ideas...

      August 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?!?!

      EDIT: "the chances of 50 people around them CARRYING A FIREARM IS 50%..."

      August 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris in ohio

      Probably not. but if 9 bystanders were wounded by police perhaps the police shouldn't have guns either? (Mild sarcasm.)

      The NYPD should immediately open an investigation into it's firearms training program and how such a monumental fubar could occur.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get A Clue

      New York is one of the strictest states in the nation with regards to the purchase, possession and carrying of handguns.[1] Most of New York State gun laws are covered in two sections of New York Penal law: article 265 – Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons; and article 400 – Licensing and Other Provisions Relating to Firearms. These sections include the banning of possession of a handgun, exemptions to the handgun ban, including to those who have a license to carry, possess, hunt with and target shoot, repair, and dispose of firearms.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela

      Your statement does not make sense. If more *Good honest people carried their guns, they have a defense against 1 crazy person.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Franco

    Americans are so crazy.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cepuras

    more good people should carry guns, policeman can't react quick enough..

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

      Right and Joe Blow with their lack of training, maintenance, equipment or identification will rectify this situation?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. EBrooks

    Wasn't this Bushs fault? No need to look into anything Bush did it. Clinton got impeached because of Bush Sr.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fred Flintstone

    Gunman Jeffrey Johnson, 53, killed one person before he was shot to death outside the busy tourist destination just after 9 a.m.
    Does this mean the other killing was perpetrated by the police?
    What abou the nine wounded?
    Also police?

    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

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

    sounds like NYPD needs some remedial time at the range or just hang it up, shooting into a crowd?

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

      they're cops, not the Navy SEALS.

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

      And of course if they *didn't* shoot he'd be complaining about that as well.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ObamaIsGodAwful

    Jeffrey Johnson's target was counting on Mayor Bloomberg to protect him since Mayor Bloomberg won't let law-abiding people have the means to do it themselves. I guess when Bloomberg policies get people killed, it doesn't count.

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

      You're a drama queen. All policies have positive and negative consequences.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kevin q

    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 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • rkdres

      Stop with your Hollywood stylized BS.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin q

      You're right. People are so omniscient and level-headed that it would never happen.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
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