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. Tuff

    I thought handguns were illegal to possess in New York City. Or mabe it is only illegal if you carry one to protect yourself? Weirdness abounds..................

    August 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • WeDon'tMatter

      Yep, imagine the possible tragedy if this guy was allowed to have a gun at the Empire State Building.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hunchback

    The Death Star and the Empire State Building are fully operational.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BloombergIsGodAwful

    Well, the people of NYC elected Bloomberg and this is what they get for acting stupidly.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Flyguy

    "Some of the victims were shot by the police" EXACTLY why only the police should have guns, right Mr. Mayor?

    August 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brody

      Imagine if some of the bystanders had guns and started blazing away too. Would've even been worse.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      I think this is important to remember. These 9 people were wounded (thankfully none fatally) by officers with very intense training both in accurate shooting and in crisis situations like these. Now imagine if some of the cowboys here online were to be able to whip out their semi-automatic assault weapons and join in the fray! How much more mayhem would result. I put no faith in citizen vigilante firearms. None.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. us_1776

    Gunman: 1
    Cops: 10

    .

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

    I heard he was all hopped up on extra large colas....

    August 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. livingasahuman

    This isn't a gun thing, it's a culture thing. This is a sign of despair. Killings don't happen because people have guns. They happen because people lose hope and just give up. Murders don't stop until you address the murderers rather than their preferred method. The more Godless this society becomes, the more and more you are going to see these types of stories. I guarantee it.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      No, despair has always been with us, as well as unfairness and maladjustment. I believe you are underestimating the explosive effect of combining this despair with firearms, as well as the glamor we invest firearms with. I believe the "culture" that is the problem may be the "gun culture" with all its fetishes and illusions. It's just so easy, as well as glamorous.

      August 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mortalc01l

    So Gun Fetishists.... Arm EVERYONE and there will be no problem, eh? Let's see how many ways you are dead wrong... Let's start with the fact that TRAINED COPS inadvertently SHOT 9 INNOCENT BYSTANDERS !! So trained Cops with guns, caused collateral damage by shooting innocent random people.

    NOW... What happens if UNTRAINED, scared, jumpy Joe Q public x 100 have guns???? CARNAGE, that's what happens, the proof is right here folks...

    August 24, 2012 at 12:47 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. There are studies on that matter. Not only that, but when it comes to crimes that have been prevented/stopped by armed civilians, there has usually been a very telling lack of collateral damage. Go read. Educate yourself. Your post is embarrassingly ignorant.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      Mr N: That is simply untrue. It's always the same with gun culturists - this sense of invincibility of being a tremendous marksman, of being superior. It's all part of the illusion. Not all cops are great shots, but they are required to keep passing marksmanship tests (in NY anyway) and they are trained to be disciplined in their use of these weapons. Your average gun culturist is overhyped, undertrained, undisciplined and dangerous. It's very dangerous to spread such silly fables.

      August 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. drphill

    Why didn't this guy just toss a pipe bomb into the crowd? Then it wouldn't be headline news since it would not bring in the gun debate.

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

      Let them restrict guns further and that is exactly what you will see. Lots of us kno how to build IEDs now.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cecilia Giménez

      Read the story. Or this from the story:

      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 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      Well you see, Dr. Phill, that is the very heart of the whole thing. he didn't. They never do. They WANT to stand there and aim a firearm at another human being and shoot them. I am pretty sure that all gun culturists do, but they have the impulse under much better control (mostly!) and their life situations are much less stressed. At any time, though, that could change.

      August 24, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Ashton

    You need to see a physician today you need urgent help !

    August 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. beth

    I am glad the police stopped the killer however they caused more chaos. This man walked away. Only one victim. The police need more training. It could of been worse. The construction worker was following the killer. The police just need more training on how to handle a situation under pressure.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Batman

    Nice to know that Mayor Bloomberg's gun control laws are making NYC safe

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

      At least people in NYC should be able to run away faster with less consumption of Super-Sized drinks thanks to Bloomberg

      August 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Iron Maiden

    One of my all-time favorite songs says it all, "...♫♫...The EVIL That Men Do LIVES ON and ON...♫♫..."...And you Americans that stand-up for the right to bear arms and support the National Rifle Association (NRA) are nothing more than a bunch of Morons...

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

      You are so right! We should just give up all our freedoms! Then we could live in utopia.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Center of Thought

      How do you know his gun was legal?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • zombie_response_team_NOLA

      These Colors Don't Run either limey.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • malcom

      I hate to bust your bubble, gun control isn't about guns it's about control.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Funny

      Justified angry response in 3...2...1

      August 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BloopbergIsGodAwful

    Man I hate to see all of this Democrat on Democrat violence.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MW

    Giffords shooting – blame it falsely on the tea party (then we find out he's a left wing nutjob)
    Aurora Movie Theater shooting – blame it falsely on the Tea Party
    Empire State Shooting – well...since he was fired from his job can we blame that on the bad economy? Therefore, can we just pin this one on Obama for the lousy economy and move on?

    August 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
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