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. larry5

    If there's another 4 years like this current 4 years this kind of event is going to happen more often.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Manav

    There is a business idea, insurance companies should start a new type of insurance coverage that covers death by an unidentified gunman shot in public.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cajr

    hey obama instead of using incidents like this to push your anti gun agenda how about using it to help creat jobs, boost the economy? you have no idea how to do that and your advisors are complete idiots. its high time for a change.

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

      You just had to make this an anti-Obama issue. You my 1D-10T friend have no clue about politics.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. We Should Be Ashamed of Bloomberg

    Mayor Bloomberg takes the opportunity of an act of violence on his watch and diverts it to advance his agenda of eliminating the only real defense law-abiding people have against maniacal killers. We should not accept Bloomberg's treating law abiding citizens like they're the criminals while he prances aroung the city with all mannner of heavily armed personal bodyguard/servants.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. internetisgay

    11 people shot, some of them were shot by the officers. Good job guys!

    August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ii2bcnii

    8 round magazine.
    -3 shots in in first victim
    --
    5
    police shot at least 4 innocent civilians, more likely they shot 7 civilians.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gr8nesnu

    Our rights payed for by my brothers & sisters should be taken becouse a few people with hate in there heart gfound an easy way to kill the people they hate. Hate kills if not by gun hate will find a way, its not the gun we have killed eachother from the beginning of time

    August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. whatever

    banning guns will prevent 'accidents' (ie: kids getting a hold of them and/or taking to school, etc) from happening. Banning guns will not prevent these intentional actions. These idiots will find a gun illegally or use any other killing means they can get their hands on. And as AndriconBoy posted... more people die from car accidents than guns.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ryantorgeson

    Only a coward handles his problems like this.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Camelspyder

    As the smoke clears, the gunman didn't shoot all those people. The trigger happy police did not think of collateral damage to other citizens in the area. What happened to taking only well aimed shots, holding your fire until all bystanders are clear or talking to the suspect and getting him to put his gun down? This could have had a better outcome than it did. Here come the lawsuits.

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

      It sounds like the police shot more people than the gunman. In fact the report only cites him shooting a former co-worker. Very limited attack made much worse by the police.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sammy Z

    Hey guys! You know what would stop all this gun violence we've been having lately? More guns!

    Interestingly enough Europe, where guns are not as prevalent as they are in the states, doesn't have gun violence on the same level as we do.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • whtnationalist

      Most of Europe doesn't have the crime we have. I did a study of gun laws vs violent crime. Result... Brady Gun Ban scores don't have any correlation with violent crime. It's the people, not the weapons they use. In the UK they knife each other instead of shooting. Further the most heavily armed country in the world is Switzerland. It also is one of the safest!

      August 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • PunkBuster

      There is a gun ban in NY, so this didn't happen.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. N

      And most of Mexico and Latin America, where guns are strictly controlled, the crime rate is ... well, never mind. Only an idiot would compare two societies that are politically, culturally, socially, and economically different on something as superfluous as gun violence. Right?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • The only person thats awesome is me!!!

      Actually We are the Top in the world for gun violence approx. 10,000 per year. 2nd place is Canada at approx. 250 per year. Did I mention that Canada actually has more guns per person? I did not cite as this is public information easily re searchable on Google. Enjoy.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Why don't you move there then?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • whtnationalist

      Let's have strict gun laws banning firearms effective as weapons, just like MEXICO. Then we will only have tens of thousands murdered every year instead of hundreds. Look at Chicago.. this type of shooting happens all the time but it's not news... Black on black murder is the leading cause of death for young black men. Yet it isn't even mentioned by the media. How many caught that Chicago had 13 shootings in 30 minutes?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • strick9

      The Swiss are heavily armed yet they don't have a high gun crime rate. In Israel, which isn't in Europe, the citizens are also heavily armed but they aren't killing each other. Why is that?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. derriquestuckey

    Watch. If this shooter turns out to be black, CNN will quickly rescind this story.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gr8nesnu

    help eachother try to LOVE & spread LOVE you may save a life

    August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. whtnationalist

    Bloomberg needed another shooting for the UN Gun Ban treaty attempt at end of August. His head of NYPD Intelligence took care of Aurora. I'll bet we find yet another case where police were warned and did nothing, like Aurora.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D.S.

    Was the shooter gay! Can anyone verify that.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • We Should Be Ashamed of Bloomberg

      I believe he was left-handed, if that helps any.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      Uhh he was a male fashion designer. So yes, he was gay.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
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