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. No

    I bet it's a disgruntled man who was rejected for a job. The location and scale is just too suspect for it not to be that.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. John

    GUNS ARE BANNED IN NYC!!!!! So all you gun control nuts shut up. You don't know what you are talking about. NYC caved and gave you what you wanted. How's that working out for you?

    August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Thank you John. You are exactly right. Let's hear from the anti-gun people now!

      August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • NRA FOREVER

      @ John come to NYC and find out.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • sesterce

      You know, I'm not saying that the shooter is from outside the city, but it's not like NYC is a separate country that inspects people for weapons as they enter.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      It's working the exact same way it is working in the states where guns are permitted and these type shootings already happened. Campuses, movie theaters, highways, etc... No one ever fires back! If they do grab him, it is always by people who physically grabbed him and hold him to the floor until law enforcement get there. That gun carrying argument is completely bogus.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Great so you want to get guns freely, so that more killings occur like in other states. So, you can carry your gun to the movie theater? or your kid takes it to school? just in case someone happen to start shooting you can retaliate.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. kim

    Why dont people go get good jobs instead of doing some non productive work

    August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. bc1026

    Seriously??
    Some people are making comments about gun laws and how terrible NYC is. People have been shot, someone is dead, and other people may die and you have to make this about politics and slamming a beautiful city??

    August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Good call!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      This is how it works, if you want to complain about something but need an excuse, then you find a piece of news and use it. There is more to worry about than just gun control, BUT they want to carry their gun because dont care about the rest.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. CysticFibrosisWhites

    Typical pasty skin NRA nationalist shooter

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Diann Vivar

    9/21 is world peace day. Get on board. Tell everyone.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. GaryC

    HURRAY GUNS!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. steve

    If the gun laws were federal then it may have made a difference there are no boarder searches between states, nothing stops someone going south getting a gun and ammo and just driving north. Thats what the guy who killed Lennon did for god sake.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. deadlikeme74

    OK, when is the first person going to day, guns don't kill – People do. Well if the people didn't have guns it would be more difficult to kill a lot of others this easily. Yes, they could kill with a knife, but it's a lot more difficult to kill many that way.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • stevep65

      Or they could drive their car up onto the curb, taking out dozens. Guns don't kill people. People do, using the gun as a tool. In China where guns are virtually banned, there have been mass knifings. The very first story of violence was when Cain killed Abel. Cain's choice was a rock. It wasn't the rock's fault, nor the National Rock Association. It was Cain's.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. rick

    Wow..probably another crazy white person......Black people do not participate in crimes like this...And they have the nerve to say Black People are bad people.... Its the crazy White people...

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • knmer1808

      Yep. What about Chicago last night? Not too many pale skins there...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • LegalCarry

      Black thugs wan the advantage they want better than one on one odds. For them to attack more than 1 person is an oddity they like it closer 5 or 6 on 1 theu odd are much better in their favor

      August 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mark L.

    Stand up and ban the NRA and bring back the Electric Chair and Gas Chamber for mass murderers, (without waiting 15+ years worth of appeals to carry out the capital punishment) !!!! If our failed criminal justice system would take a harder stance like some other large nations, we wouldn't have so many issues. It's GREAT living in a free country, but TOO MUCH freedom is the root to all evil !!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      We have the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. And you think we don't take a hard stance? Yeah...right. I know. You want to stone people to death and cut off hands and all sorts of other barbaric things.

      By the way, I notice how you want to take *other* people's freedom away. Isn't that always how it goes?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Aja

    On second thought, some of you are right. Guns for everyone! Wheee!! Imagine how safe this country will be if everyone could just walk into a Walmart and buy a gun then walk around with it? Let's make the background checks LOOSER so it's even EASIER to give guns to the public. Because deadly weapons are clearly the way to express Patriotism and give everyone a sense of safety. 🙂

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Aja

      'Merica. F yeah! *bang bang*

      August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Ct

      Guns were very easy to buy 30 years ago. So what changed?

      August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      i would love every good person to be trained with a gun. That way, criminals would think twice before trying to attack other people.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      pretty much anyone can walk into a Wal Mart and walk out with a gun. If you know you'll fail the background check, there are plenty of other ways to obtain a firearm.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aja – a great example of a failed educational system.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • jmc45

      You do realize that New York, the City in particular, has a strict ban on guns right? How's that gun ban working out for them? Or how about the one in Chicago, a city with another gun ban?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • FLO

      Unfortunately guns have always been a problem.
      Stop and risk should continue.
      It does not help when the people running our country (AG,Holder) is not held responsible for THE FAST AND FURIOUS
      DEBACLE.
      I'am sure the liberal media would never print this. God Bless the injured in today's shooting.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • ScottR

      Absolutely! Because every gun-wielding maniac wants to purchase their firearms from Walmart. Forget the black market happening in their back alley!! No, HELL NO, they want a registered firearm! Hell yeah! Then they will sign up for defensive firearms classes, and aspire to get their C&C license so they can PROPERLY rampage the city! Right? Come on, think about it. Your view only obscures one of the oldest rights americans pride on. That right is for responsible citizens and upheld by responsible citizens. Do you honestly think you can bubble-wrap this entire freaking world and prevent the, uh, world from hurting itself? What do you want to do about sticks and stones?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Firstly, Guns are basically illegal in NYC. So even if you made the laws as strict as possible this obviously still would have happened as he wasn't concerned with breaking the law in the first place.
      Secondly, you are assuming he obtained the gun legally, and if so there was obviously a hole in his background check that needs to be investigated...but I would put money on the fact that he did not obtain the gun legally and therefore whatever regulations you put in place would be useless since the gunman obviously didn't care.

      Now NYC's gun laws are so strict that even the gaurd was not carrying a weapon leaving him seriously undermatched... he could have easily stopped this shooting at one person instead of having to wait for police in which time 4+ more people were shot.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • penny

      Aja,
      This country was settled after guns were invented and readily available; that is a unique feature we have compared to Europe. If you make guns illegal, only the law abiding people will turn them in; things will only worsen at that point. Maybe you should live in Norway; the man that shot & killed 77 kids got a 21 yr. sentence and could be out in as little as 8; they have tighter gun control than the US...it seems to be working so well for them, (heavy sarcasm, in case you don't get that either).

      August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • JiminNM

      You are responsible for protecting yourself. The police are not responsible for protecting you. Get informed, get prepared and quit whining.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • WhatNow

      CT...Extremists...we now have more nutty extremists in the US with weapons. Just think of all the hate-filled individuals bashing people who do not look or speak like they do.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      The cities and surrounding areas with the strictest gun control laws also have the highest crime rates. Look it up people.

      In addition to that, it is a proven fact that when a state enacts concealed carry laws (i.e. allowing people to carry guns) crime rates DROP. So you're liberal talking points are pure garbage.

      August 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Doug WIlliams

    Good Old Fashioned American Gun Violence!!! My condolences to the victims #guncontrolisforwimps

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Valytn

    Oh, gee. ANOTHER mass-shooting in the United States. You're sure on a roll, aren't you GOP?

    Right. Because local gun laws are SO hard to bypass (like, you know, with a 20 minute drive across the border). Clearly, gun control never works!!!! What, it does in the rest of the developed world? Blasphemy!!!!!

    Howe stupid can the GOP get? I mean, really.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      If the GOP is so dumb about gun control, why doesn't your messiah Obumo make stricter gun laws? Dems had control of the House and Senate for 2 years!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • penny

      Like in Norway?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. kmistry41

    yeah gun laws mean nothing. it's not like every first world country in the world has tighter gun laws than the US and therefor has a fraction of the gun crime. No correlation at all.
    If the US would stop acting like it exists in a bubble maybe it could learn from what the rest of the world does better than them ie health care, gun laws and the separation of church and state.
    Eventually the US will progress I just wish we could progress faster.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Ct

      30 years ago there were barely any gun laws and we didn't have shootings like this.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @ kmistry41
      therefor has a fraction of the gun crime.

      This is correct in some cases. But where you dimwitted fools fail is ..You don’t research violent crime. Just crime committed with guns. Go back… try again. Virtually no change in homicide.. only the tools used. While you’re at it.. you can take your Anti-U.S. agenda and shove it up your backside.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert Beck

      Tom, having ideas to improve your situation and the situations of the people surrounding you is about as American an ideal as any.

      I want my kids to have better healthcare than we do, I want my kids to live in a less violent place than we do, and I want my kids to live in a world where no one religion could be forced upon them.

      How in the world is that un-American?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
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