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. extrusio

    it might be too early to say for sure, but what i've read to this point makes me believe that a couple of individuals had best spend a little more time in training related to armed urban confrontation. The shooter apparently shot one person....deliberately...and it appears as though there was a lot more colleteral damage than one would expect to be caused by those that are supposed to be protecting the public from mayhem.

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

    Let Americans arm themselves, and be led around by their delusional, paranoid arguments about freedom. My favorite is that the gun at home will serve as protection from the government – while the same gun nuts are usually comfortable with the government having the most advanced and apocalyptic weapons systems on the planet. Face it, guns at home are about tragic accidents and citizens killing citizens.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. robert-in-austin

    please, please, please be sarcasm. If not, step away from the computer, quit your job and check into the nearest mentally facility. thank you.

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

    The police seem like they're finally starting to get it.
    Shoot to kill.

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

    Tobacco kills a lot more people and it is still legal.

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

    brace for gun bans

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

    Guns are illegal in New York so this didn't really happen.

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

      It was not a legitimate, forcible shooting.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The Giant Troll

    Good thing he didnt have an explosive device like fertalizer and fuel. He could have killed hundreds. Good thing he didnt drive his car into the crowd, he could have killed many more than one person. So should we disarm the police too? They shot 10 people and only one deserved it........

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

    Time to update this breaking news:

    NEW HEADLINE: Police kill armed suspect and wound 9 bystanders

    STORY TO FOLLOW: A suspect shot and killed his former boss on the streets of NYC, minutes later the suspect was brutally gunned down by police officers. In the aftermath, 9 bystanders where found to be injured by police, but officials spin the story into calling them "heroes" for shooting so many innocent people in the area.

    Yeah, let's ban guns (like NYC bans guns) and only allow law enforcement to carry, that makes sense after we spin this story enough...

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

      Hyperbole masquerading as fact.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nicole Chardenet

    More like just another angry old white man exercising his God-given Second Amendment rights. GOD BLESS 'MURICA!!!

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

      Guns are banned in New York so we know this didn't happen.

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

      @PunkBuster – murders are also banned in New York and we still have them. Is your point simply making something illegal means it will automatically stop?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jfreita

    they need to stop useing guns as the reason why. Yes he should be held accountable not every law abiding gun owner. There was an obvious reason he shot up he former work place. legislation will not prevent the ill minded from doing these deads. Its to late guns are here and they are hear to stay. so man up and find the cause he went crazy. i can look at my guns all day and they dont make me get up and shoot people. probly got nothing left to live for, were is someone that age going to go after losing his job? Most police can barly qualify with there pistols. Most civilians who practice regualy are better shots than your average officer

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

    What scares me about America isn't shootings like this, but the idiotic reaction by slack jaws absorbed by politics, bigotry and hate who think the President has something to do with this, or anything else having nothing to do with his office...like "their guy" would make this go away and the country better. Can you simpleton's simply stick to what car brand you think is better, or what team to root for? At least those 3rd grade areas of backwoods debate might be something you can pretend to know something about. At least pretend you're educated for once in your sad, hate-filled life.

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

      So, true, lol.

      It's a good thing nothing like this ever happened when Bush was in office, then I would'nt be able to believe this is President Obama's fault! *sarcasm*

      August 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. nansal

    "Some may have been accidentally shot by police officers,"

    Now, this is the scary part!
    Seems like the gunman was only targetting one victim, but the police's action created more victim than needed :/
    Perhaps more rigorous training for the cops is needed...

    August 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. p

    How does 11 people get shot with a .45

    August 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • 13+1

      Four ways I can think of:

      1. The criminal has a handgun or carbine that holds 13+1 rounds of .45ACP (like a Springfield XDM45 or Kriss Vector).
      2. The criminal has a 1911 with an after-market extended magazine for more than 8+1
      3. The criminal has a 1911 with factory mags and reloads after emptying the first mag
      4. The criminal shoots and kills just 1 person, the cops then shoot and kill him as well as wound 9 others around him

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

      I expect we're going to discover that they were all shot by cops–the guy apparently only fired once.

      For those of you who don't know, the usual 1911 .45 and it's most common variants only holds 7 rounds in the magazine.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lena Simone

    Police say it could be until 2 p.m. to clear the scene or as long as 10 hours. Just asked an officer if I could leave the building.

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

      Sounds like the cops need time to police all their brass after shooting so many innocent victims. Thankfully, the shooter only shot his intended target.

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