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. TyJay

    This world has become a big SHAME! Ignorant people blaming on political views, religion beliefs. For crying out loud people instead of fighting each other lets fight together to stop the violence!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TheTXBigDog

    Getting ready to go hunting now. Venison, Yum. I don't go to NY or LA, I do go to SF but only on business. Big city fools and Harvard grads are no friends of mine. Too smart for us folk in the heartland who need a truck but have them dictating our driving requirements. I prefer animals for pets and food. Veggies from the garden, water from the well. If I could only get off the grid internet, I would be fine. This guy lost his job in the Obama economy. It is as much his fault as that lady dying from cancer 6 years after Romney left Bain is his. Liberal Dems are Kool-Aid drinkers who can't think for themselves. When an NPR journalist quits because she is tired of the white house lying to her everyday, that says enough for me. NPR, not fox.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bill356

    Why doesn't CNN cover every vehicular death in the country like it does gun deaths? You don't have an agenda do you? You are an unbiased news agency right?

    August 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brandon Giannasi.

    I found a typo. Lower half of paragraph 6

    August 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Amobius

    Wonder if the boss took a raise the same year this guy was laid off.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Phasersonstun

    Good thing we have gun control in New York ... oh wait, we do ... so let's ban ALL gun manufacturing in the US ... oh wait, there are other countries in the world ... lets ban guns worldwide ... oh wait, the black market ... where BIG money can be made, like alcohol was during prohibition. GUN CONTROL IS NOT THE ANSWER ... honesty, love and integrity is ... but wait, the US Govt. is attempting to take God out of our society ... when that happens, hell will break loose upon the US ... and this is just a glimpse ...

    August 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robert

    What I dont understand is why didnt the police just follow him to a place where they could engage him with putting so many other people at risk? If the shooter had a 1911 handgun and he only shot one person who shot the other 9? The police? if so it sounds like they may need limits on the rounds they carry and some more practice.

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

      Oh, but haven't you heard? Only civilians need limits as to round counts and magazine capacity for self defense, because they typically carry alone (when and IF allowed). Cops, who typically work in groups and back up each other, need all the ammo they can get!!

      August 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Marxlamists Nearly Have Critical Mass

    Mayor Bloomberg seems pleased to have this opportunity to advance tyranny.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jayc123

    "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."

    this guy murdered 1 person, which is literally an everyday occurance in this country (unfortunately). the police officers shot and wounded NINE PEOPLE trying to take this guy down, who was on the run not randomly shooting into a crowd. the coverage this story is getting is trying to incite that this was another mass shooting in an attempt to keep the gun control issue going right before an election... pathetic.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. oldesalt

    If the anti-gun crowd was really interested in reducing the number of unnecessary deaths in the U.S. then they should direct their efforts towards banning cigaretts and alcohol. Guns have a much more practical purpose in life than these two substance. I know alcohol was banned once but it is still the cause of more deaths than guns.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • carpentersvilleplayhouse

      Got two brothers that left me here because of those two killers, smoke and drink, for tomorrow you may die

      August 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Remember: guns are okay - it's people you have to watch out for. Keep repeating this NRA mantra until you calm down. The story could just as easily said "Police may have accidentally stabbed citizens". Does anyone understand irony? When will the U.S. politicians have the guts to stand up to the NRA? Probably NEVER.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Riptide

      People like you are why I send in my dues every year. Thanks for reminding me of why the NRA needs our support.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. N

      Roger. Please look up "non-sequitur." Bonus points if you report back, OK?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • carpentersvilleplayhouse

      "U.S. politicians have the guts to stand up to the NRA?"

      When they start going overseas with guns to battle the terrorists! Can't do that because of being wussies.. And crooks, And lair's, And... Oh well you get the idea the reasons congress don't do anything, because they excel in doing nothing. And still get paid and a fat retirement.......They should be getting only SS!

      August 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kingfish

      Your Nanny Bloomburg let you down, why doesn't he take the guns away from the Keystone cops, seem like the kill and maim more people than the shooter, just plain incompetence in a slum city.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. nc1965

    The USA is 4.5% of the world's populations yet commits 25% of the world's homicides, 75% by guns.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Riptide

      And yet how many millions upon millions of people who own a firearm don't kill someone every year? Your chances of being murdered are almost infinitesimal. Stop blowing things out of proportion.

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

      Where did you get those numbers MSNBC? Apparently you are not counting Africa ... or Syria ... or X-Yugoslavian countries or Yeman or a whole host of places that don't keep track of "gun homicides". The number of homicides in the US is primarily black on black liberal inner city drug related ... where they have their own "war on drugs" ...where the average citizen is not allowed to protect him/herself with a gun.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. If You Love America You'll Not Vote For Obama Or Bloomberg

    Agitate the people and pit them against each other and here's what we'll get.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ken Borgie

    Another NUT cracked and went crazy. Just keep honest people from owning guns in stupid NYC, except the rich and friends of Bloomberg, and only the crazies will be armed. Bloomberg is one of the most avid anti-gunners in America and probably the most stupid when it comes realizing that an armed society is a safer society.

    What did NYC learn years ago from the mass-shooting on the computer train when no one on the train could defend themselves from that crazy shooter because the gun laws in NYC are so impossible. The states with CCW are the safest states to be living in where the rapist or thug or car jacker or home invader will most likely be blown away and become history by one of up to 8,000,000 CCW carriers in almost every state except Communist Illinois.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AngryJew

    We need to stop giving our tax dollars to Israel and use them to feed our poor right here in the USA. Screw Israel.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • MykeTheVet

      Off topic but I agree! Israel can support herself. Three hundred nuclear weapons says I'm right.

      Lima-1, out.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
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