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. carpentersvilleplayhouse

    OR, build a road going to a cliff and send them down it.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob Onnit

    The story is a fabrication. It's impossible. guns have been banned in NYC since the 1920's or so (Sullivan Act) so it could not have happened. And if Bloomberg gets his way, it will never happen in any other city because guns will be banned there as well.
    Only the cops will have guns and the only reason they will need them is to accidentally shoot unarmed citizens.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. larry5

    Obama needs to fulfill his promise to the American people and with Holder's help arrest everyone with a concealed carry permit and put them in jail without bail. Americans can't accept the death of agent Terry and hundreds of Mexican civilians and drug dealers that died to advance gun control and the disarming of American citizens especially Conservatives. Obama's private security force will never take complete control if citizens remain armed. These shootings are proof that Obama need to have his security force now and that citizens that step out of line need to be taken care of without all this due process nonsense.

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

      This has to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Not only would this be highly illegal and against the law, it doesn’t make any sense what so ever. All this would do is take weapons out of law abiding citizens and arm the criminals. Criminals are going to find weapons regardless of what the laws are, hello they are criminals. So what does the criminal do if they know you are not carrying a weapon, well, attack you, but if you are carrying a weapon, think twice. Additionally, Fast and Furious was an illegal operation and against the law, which is why there are numerous law suits pending. So essentially, what you are saying is it’s ok to break the law and that no one has the right to defend themselves. I have to wait for the cops who are five minutes away why I’m being stabbed to death? Yea, lots of logic there.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • larry5

      Evidently you don't understand sarcasm.....

      August 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. It Is The Patriot's Duty To Defeat Barack Obama

    Bloomberg's police got him! But at what cost?

    August 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. solrac503

    If there were signs that said "no bad people allowed. Good guys carry weapons." no one would have been hurt, because suicidal people who are out to kill don't like being shot by 'good pedestrians' for some reason. They get scared, because good people are like cryptonite to bad people. Good people could wear orange vests that let us know that they are good people who have guns and we could shake their hands and tell them thank you for being a good person. We could all watch Die Hard and Lethal Weapon and talk about all our past adventures of shooting bad people. And then our mom would make us cookies and we'd get some rest for another day of adventure.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      All good people: let's hunt down the bad peoples fortress. They must be stopped.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robert Evans

    Looks like the police opened fire on a crowded street without regard to the innocent people they killed or wounded. If the gunman fired at the police, it surely is because he saw all those uniforms. But, if ordinary people were allowed to carry concealed weapons, you have to wonder if the outcome wouldn't have been better. An armed citizen standing next to the killer could have just plugged the gunman easy, and the gunman would not have known what was coming, or had a chance to start shooting wildly. The use of police is the best we have, given the present oppressive laws limiting gun carry. But there has to be a much better way to deal with these situations.The threat from concealed carry could well have caused the gunman to choose a more private place to do his killing, thereby not risking the lives of innocents.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. N

      Excellent point!

      August 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • K

      Here's an example: Lets say I were an armed civilian, and I happened to be looking the other way. I suddenly hear some gunshots, and I reach for my own gun (just in case). I look around and hear a 2nd set of gunshots when I spot you shooting someone (the original killer, but I don't know that). Do I have the right to shoot at you at that instance? In my mind, you could have shot both people. And if I happen to kill someone in the cross-fire as well, am I responsible for that death?

      August 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. McWayne

    Ban jobs! Ban the Empire State Building! Ban! Ban! Ban!

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

    If the victim had just called the police sooner this could have been prevented.

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

    "You didn't shoot that person. Somebody else did that."

    Blame it on the Democrat Economy. No jobs but plenty of despair.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vuil Uil

    Man fired, fires back.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sinfully Yours

    Nice Shootin' Tex...err Cops! Nothing like seeing cops open fire with a barage of bulletts to take down a fleeing suspect and in the process not only kill him but wound 9 other innocent bystanderds. I smell lawsuit!

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

      At least he didn't have a 32 oz soft drink

      August 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIke

      Truth is, if the cops hadn't persued the guy, a second victim would be alive. If we outlaw handguns, then I guess the police wont need handguns either, right? Smae insane logic.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ahwtukee T

    How long will it be before the Tea Party is blamed?

    August 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JohnS

    So the cops shot 9 people besides the perp? And this is going to be trumpeted by the Commie Bloomberg as another mass killing caused by a GUN??? Those cops need to be fired for total incompetence and Bloomberg needs to be impeached. The perp shot ONE guy – his ex-boss – and the cops shoot NINE more??? Who are the real killers here? I would NEVER shoot at a perp whose background was a crowd of innocent people. What those cops did is unconscionable. They should have sought cover and pursued the perp and waited for a clear shot. Total panic-response by supposed "professionals". So how did those restrictive NYC gun laws protect anybody in this case? Maybe they should outlaw cops...

    August 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. solex

    I wonder how many people have to die before we realize that we are not wise enough to hold the power of life and death in our hands?

    Guns do not kill people. They ENABLE people to kill people. You do not have to be big and strong. You don't need to know Kung Fu. Guns require no discipline to operate.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob Bob

    It is George Bush and the Tea Parties fault. That will be what we hear next

    August 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
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