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. The only person thats awesome is me!!!

    "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

    August 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. carpentersvilleplayhouse

    ""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." Safest? WTC is certainly safe "NOW!" The one's wounded were probably shot by the police, their practice goes like this, unload, reload, unload, reload, but NEVER get to close. Everytime they is more than one policeman up to fifty rounds are fired, one might hit the right person

    August 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MoFiZiX Gr4FiX

    Utopianist geniuses (Bloomberg et-al) scare the hell out of me. They think that legislating against undesirable actions will make them go away or at the very least help reduce the negative effects, but the unintended consequence of over-legislating anything, breeds a dependence on government (someone else telling you how to act) and a decreased reliance on personal accountability and common sense. As a society, we need to be allowed to suffer the natural consequences of our own bad decisions.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SmarterThanYou

    Very misleading headlines here.... No shooting rampage... A guy with a gun killed a co worker.. Subsequently, police opened fire without control accidentally shooting 10 citizens... That will sue the city for MILLIONS!

    August 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AngryJew

    hmmmmm I guess you like the copy and past functions.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Name s kel

    I hope that was@poomans last blog before he does himself in. CNN lets that garbage on here? What a joke CNN.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. solex

    If anyone is showing signs of instability it is YOU

    August 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. What Share Of The Blame Goes To Obama And Bloomberg

    I believe Obama and Bloomberg helped the shooter justify it in his mind.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. queenofjupiter

    so...ummm.....you are dumb.

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

    The UN Gun Ban treaty makes another attempt end of this month. The Senate has to pass it for it to become the law of the land. Gun banners needed another shooting. Funny how that happened. Just like the Aurora shooting. There police were warned weeks before yet did nothing. I'll bet we find the same thing here.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fritz

      Totally true what you are saying. This is totally another attempt for the UN to take over our country and our 2nd amendment rights. Just another play by this Obama administration to take away our guns and empower the criminals.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. This Would Not Have Happened Under Giulani

    With the right leadership, odds are this shooting would never have happened.

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

      How could this happen in a "gun free zone"?

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

    FYI... Gun's aren't banned in NYC, although it is expensive and time consuming to obtain a handgun permit (and that's only for your residence, and for transporting to and from a firing range).

    The cops are pretty cool to people who go thru the process to obtain the permits, and I'm sure they're not big fans of law abiding citizens having to go thru such hurdles to exercise their 2nd amendment rights.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mwrightmann

    for starters... one person directly targets and successfully shoots/kills another person, them puts his weapon away and leaves. Thats not a mass shooting.

    The police follow the shooter, he draws a gun and ".. the officers opened fire, killing Johnson. It was unclear if Johnson managed to shoot a round." yet they say 9 were injured in an "exchange" of gunfire? two cops shooting 14 rounds in one direction and one guy shooting 0 rounds back is not an "exchange"

    and now bad marksmanship by overzealous, excited cops has all of the CNN sheep bleating about "zomg ban guns!"

    Please people, please look at facts and understand you are being used....

    August 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      You are correct sir. While I respect the tough job NYPD has, they clearly wen't too far with so many shots being fired in a crowded area. A taser should have been used. Those 14 or so shots fired by the police had to ricochet somewhere.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Really?!?!

    Why is it whenever an act of gun violence is committed people automatically call out gun rights for civilians?!?! did anyone check if that gun was registerd to him? my money is that it was not...do you really think criminals commit crimes with weapons registered in their name?!?! even if the gun was registered to him that has nothing to do with the gun being dangerous it was the PERSON who decided he had a traumatic life event and couldnt take it anymore and decided to take the life of the person who caused it hoping he would also be gunned down by police and his torture would be over. I am a happy gun owner and pity anyone who is so scared of guns they want them taken away from the good guys.

    If i am ever in a situation like this and im carrying; i will not hesitate to neutrilize the threat, save many more lives, and smile in any NRA haters face as i say "your welcome" and walk away.

    Keep guns for the good guys!

    Oh and btw there were 90% of the injuries sustained in this incident were from neglegent police officers shooting into a crowd without ID'ing the suspect...so should we take guns away from police too? ill be waiting for a response to that one...forever.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. It Is The Patriot's Duty To Defeat Barack Obama

    My sympathies to the victims and their families.

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