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. diaryofanoldermom

    Its so easy for everyone to blame someone else, blame the person that pulled the trigger DUH....give me a break

    August 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. dave

    With cops like these we should just let the murderer get away! At least Johnson only hit his target!

    August 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Rick Moreen

    How come Muslims are not being blamed for this ????

    August 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Obama Is God Awful

    We need stronger Democrat control laws.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. soaringeagle

    Must change the Law. If you kill any Human being, you'll be shot or in the gas chamber within 24 hours (no trial at all).
    Does not matter you are juvenile or adult. With this system United State of America will be the safer place in the world and safe a lot of Human lives and also safe a lot of tax payers money.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. brianNH

    If you're going to shoot people, what better place than NYC, where the government has made sure all your victims will be unarmed and defenseless? Congrats to the police for getting him quickly, though.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tr1Xen

      You've got that right. Hey, at least NYC has their priorities straight, though, right? I wonder if anyone was drinking a sugary drink at the time.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rick O'Shea

    By jove I think I have it, the reason these big city mayors are so virulent anti-gun and even want to dictate that to areas that are none of their business and here it is, when police accidently shoot innocent bystanders the mayors don't want them to be able to shoot back.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Please Help America Defeat Obama

    Rage is on the rise in this country since Obama was elected. Sometimes it spills over like in this case.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. NYC resident

    This has nothing to do about Obama or Republicans vs Democrats... There is no need for people outside of Police and Military to have guns... Gun regulation (more background checks) is necessary. In NYC, no one outside of police officers can get a carrying license. In short, there are too many guns in this country.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr. N

      Seeing as to how 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, no thank you. With all due respect to cops, I'm not willing to trust my life to a guy/gal that only shoots a couple of times per year to "qualify." (There are studies on that matter, bud. Look it up.)

      August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • RattlingCan

      Sure- blame the guns. If he had a bat. Maybe a feather and tickled him to death.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hank

      You'll die and we'll still have our guns. Sorry.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • whtnationalist

      Just like illegal immigration, it's against the law but that doesn't stop anyone. Of Mexico with it's very strict gun laws... seems violent people still get guns. I could ask Jose to add a few guns to the meth he carries into the country. Shootings by mentally ill people is usually planned well ahead, allowing them to get explosives or what ever is needed. Ban guns and you will get bombs. Considering how police shot bystanders maybe the police should give up their guns?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      You are clearly part of the problem, sir.

      New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. According to your demented logic, this crime could never have happened there.

      I would urge you to learn a little bit about gun laws and crime before you make another moronic statement.

      Oh and it IS about republicans and democrats. A majority of democrats support your idea of neutering the public.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. katolungile

    "Clothing designer" means artsy, and you know he was a democrat... Why are they so violent?

    August 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • NYC resident

      Sir, you are misguided. Keep it classy

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

      he could not get over it ,or MAYBE it happened as result of coworkers dirty work on him

      August 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. larry

    Democrats should not be alowed to own guns. They can't even hold a real job for crying out loud.

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

      I'm surprised some left wing nut "media" type hasn't blamed this on the tea party yet. Oh... wait... the victim was a "rich" guy, must be ObaMaos' fault. He's bem badmouthing the rich for 4 years. Vote The Slug Out!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    1. You do realize guns aren't illegal in New York. Just crazy nonsense like assault rifles. And it's much more difficult to get a gun. Which is part of why NYC has one of the lowest murder rates in the nation.

    2. This incident, more than any other, proves that the worst thing that can happen is for people to just whip out guns and start cross-firing in a public place. 9 people got hit in the crossfire between this whacko and cops. Imagine how many more would have been hit had 10 other people pulled out weapons and started firing.

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

      From the point of view of statistics there is very little correlation between gun ownership – assault (actually semi-automatic rifles) or otherwise- and mortality via guns. Examples: Finland, Switzerland, and Israel. There is a strong correlation between ethnicity-social-economic factors and gun crime. I spent 18+ years as a scientist/statistician with a major multi-national corporation, and your statistical background is...? Wasn't someone just sentenced for 70 gun murders in one of the most restrictive countries for gun control in the EU? Sorry, but there is no correlation. 3000+ people perished as a consequence of box cutters and airplanes in your Big Apple.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. whtnationalist

    So how is that gun ban working for you? New York has some of the toughest laws in the world. But then why would someone intent on murder be worried about gun laws? In fact it would have been WORSE had he not had a gun. Terrorists use explosives as it kills far more people than guns. And anyone can make explosives, the information is on the internet.

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

      You know there isn't a gun ban and that NY has one of the lowest murder rates in the nation, correct?

      August 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Clifford Anthony Paiva

    ...more staged murders...false flag nonsense by the U.S. government hoping to remove the 2nd Amendment right of the People to "....keep and bear arms..."; TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST A TYRANNY ORIENTED GOVERNMENT. This is just ANOTHER set of murders...added to the Aurora Century Theater and Sikh Temple...CIA-FBI murders of innocent Americans...Bloomberg himself NOW AN ACCOMPLICE..former two being adjacent to USAF facilities for convenience of withdrawal...the lates covered by the mayor.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Allah Ackbarf

    If all citizens were armed you would soon find that the victim was probably a better shooter than the police.

    This may have been over sooner, with one less dead and before the police could even get there from around the corner.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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