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. Hope

    No doubt, Anericans are growing weary of the violence... I know I am.

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

    Wait, I thought guns were illegal in New York and even more illegal in NYC. How could this have happened? Do you think the bad guys will get guns even when they are illegal and the rest of the population will be unarmed?

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

    Well....I knew that it had something to do with him being fired. Therefore, he was EXACTING his aggression on one person (who may or may not have deserved a bullet in the head). So there was no "wild gunman shooting spree"? The 9 or so other people that went down were hit by police officers with bad aim? How awful....but lets give the boys in blue a hand anyways.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ert

    the cops wounded 5 times as many people as the gunmen....Toody and Mulldoon, report to Captain Block!

    August 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ert

      Car 54, Where Are You?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BarringtonLegend

    Was this a case of a sane man going insane? Or an insane man realizing his insanity? Think About It

    August 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Markus Shmarkus

    "New York City is the safest big city in this country but we are not immune to the national problem of gun violence.": Gun violence? How about PEOPLE violence?? Always the gun, never personal responsibility for the lunatic. If he didn't have a gun, who is to say he wouldn't have plowed his car into the building or something...

    August 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Expert Observation and Analysis

    Democrats can't get along with each other.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ConanTheRepublican

    Bloomie will disgorge his usual pukings about "gun violence" and how we need to "get guns off the street". Yeah, Australia said the same thing, and confiscated 650,000 guns. Gun violence went up IMMEDIATELY 40% the following year. Every single crime stat got WORSE. Criminals don't give up their guns. The LAW-ABIDING do, with disastrous results.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. Stan

      Sounds like you are safer at the police shooting range, near the targets. New Yorks finest.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Expert Observation and Analysis

    Fortunately the shooter didn't run onto a school bus.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy

      Looks like New York's law that forbids honest law abiding citizen's from having guns to protect themselves worked in favor of this cowardly shooter.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. edwardo

    I bet the shooter was an old gay!? what do you bet, and I bet the media never tells!

    August 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      I suspected it was your uncle, too. He still has sleepovers at your house?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • artemis133

      What an asinine comment.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. the_dude

    Hey wait a minute guns are illegal to own in NYC. How could this possibly happen???? I'm a starry-eyed liberal btw,....

    August 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      Yeah, we should have known he was a bad guy, seeing as though he was wearing an eye patch, metal fist, and petting a cat. And, of course, when ten people pull their gun out after shots fire, we are able to distinguish the good guys by the sparkle in their eyes.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      Citizens that watch Die Hard and Lethal Weapon movies are far more trustworthy and accurate than police officers who only go to an academy. I mean, I watched Police Academy. I know what goes on there.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      Hey, dude. Maybe we can get together later and play GI Joe's and talk about how awesome it would be if everyone could carry a gun.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ApplePienallthatisNice

    So this guy was wearing a suit and he was carrying a suit case. So is everyone now packing heat? This country is going to the dogs.

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

      ....... and some people still say, 'Out of my cold, dead hands .......'

      August 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. the_dude

    I read another comment on here that the shooter must be an old, vindictive gay and I would agree with that. If the shooter is somehow straight (and works in the womens accessory market) I would say he has a good case of workplace discrimination because i'm sure the gays on staff harrased him about his clothes and male pattern baldness and stuff.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      You still have hurt feelings towards your uncle? Don't worry, just pray and those evil thoughts of your uncle in your moms underwear will disappear in time. Buying guns, voting republican and going to church has been said to help.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Robert J. Sciolino

    Wow, didn't this guy realize he could be arrested for carrying a gun in New York City? Guess he didn't care about our extra strict gun laws in Manhattan. Another fine example of how outlawing guns leads to innocent unarmed victims and a would-be shooter with a welcome mat to open fire...like shooting fish in a barrel...this time with the help of the NYPD.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Expert Observation and Analysis

    Back before Obama, Reid, and Pelosi took power, the fired guy could have simply gotten another job. I guess it seemed hopeless losing his job in the Obama depression.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • 123456

      exactly. most of us found jobs quickly, now it is a death sentence, I have been out of work for 2+ years and only found a job 8 hours a week for minimum wage.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • F ast and Fu rious Tr eason

      There is a good chance you'll do better when we dump the Obama regime in November.

      August 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
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