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. Adam

    Guns...one again.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Your right. Once again, because of the strict gun laws, more people were injured than needed to be.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ksera

    Soooooooooooooooo let me get this straight.

    New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the country designed to keep guns out of criminals' hands but the only thing the laws succeeded in doing was to keep guns away from law abiding citizens, thus preventing said citizens from protecting themselves?

    And the REASON New York has such laws is becuase it believes only trained professionals from the government are capable of handling a gun BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT those very same professionals shot 9 innocent people (according to CNN).

    Sooooooo NYC locks up an out of state, former member of the Armed Services for declaring her gun at a check point, but the guy in the Empire State Building just waltzed in and started firing.

    New York. I weep for your loss today. But I also shake my head at your incredible stupidity.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smokin' Aces

      Yeah, professionals may have shot some of those 9 that were injured. Imagine what would happen if non-professionals were carrying and decided to cowboy up. The idea that a civilian carrying a gun would have ended this or Aurora or any other shooting event in a safer manner is the illogical propaganda of gun nuts. I'm all for protecting the 2nd Ammendment but guns don't make us safer. They just don't. For every grandma who runs off an attacker b/c she was packing a Saturday night special, a young kid blows his face off b/c he was playing with his father's gun.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hangar13

    This story is obviously a hoax. A shooting like that couldn't happen in NYC, they have the strongest gun control laws in the country.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      Hahaha, gun laws only make it easier for a criminal to kill more people as no citizens have the right to protect themselves and the only people with guns are the ones breaking the law. You might want to rethink your logic bro.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Moose Airborne

    I am sorry to hear about this tragedy but isn't this Bloomberg's perfect gun free Utopian city. How are those gun free zones working for for you New Yorkers. Here in Kentucky we don't have near that kind of problem but, then again, we don't have near the Liberal Gay Democrat population either.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      Same thing in Vermont. And I wouldn't call the state with Sanders as a Senator a bastion of conservatism. They can even open carry, without a permit!

      August 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. WyomingWild

    Read a little history. Governments with guns have killed more of their own citizens than citizens killing citizens. Ask the millions of dead Russians and Jews if Stalin and Hitler banning guns to prevent violent crime was a good idea.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gekko

    Police and CITIZENS (not "civilians"). Unless every police officer is in the US Army, non-police person is a citizen, not a civilian. And every police person likewise is a civilian when in comparison to US Army personnel.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TJ

    If its know that more and more citizens are carrying guns, less people will try something stupid and more people will be armed to prevent that kind of situation. These reports of shootings seem to be more propaganda to convince Americans to give up their right to bear arms for a "safer" world. Let me just say this: Criminals don't follow rules and if something is illegal, it just means that the only people who have it are criminals. Lets stand together on the right to bear arms for the real safety of American citizens.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fatty Arbuckle ghostly woman beater

    13 shot in Chi-town for the lead, but New York's finest in Blue makes a strong showing with only two minutes left on the clock! Eight wounded but the tally is still out to whether the donut terrors can claim them all.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. GiveMeA1911

    Unbelievable. You can't carry a gun in NYC. We know every crook, crazy or anyone else intent on shooting people would never have access to a gun in NYC. Of course they will throw the liberal slant to it. "We need more gun control. We need to take guns from the people." Law abiding permit carriers could have been a big help here. People want to know why I don't want to visit NYC. This is the exact reason, I don't have my right to defend myself in case something like this happens.

    What a dream world.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      Cool story, bro. If everyone pulled out a gun after shots fired, people would know exactly who the bad person was. And you wouldn't be confused as a bad person, because you look too much like a good person. You're smart, you watch movies.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sofakingdabest

    seems america is back to itself as it was before 911

    August 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. solrac503

    Let's all get together and play GI Joe's and watch Die Hard and talk about how awesome it would be if we could all carry guns and we'll make plans on how we'll get the bad guy. It's going to be awesome.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AngryJew

    Stop giving our taxes to Israel. We could use that money for jobs and housing right here in the US.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ggg

    if everyome who lost their job in the past 3 yrs and 8 months and 3 days went on shooting spree it would be a major bloodbath for several million citizens,,,,,

    August 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. J.D.

    When apple pie is outlawed only outlaws will have apple pie.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mr Creamey

    Of course,Obama,Hillary and the rest of the anti gun club will jump all over this in the attempt to use it for more leverage to ban guns and destroy the 2nd amendment.
    Banning guns will solve nothing and cause MORE people to be victims because the only ones left with gns will be the government and criminals.(Both 1 and the same).
    So....I guess if it's crime you're seeking to commit,find out what towns and cities have strict anti gun laws and gun bans and go there to commit the crimes. You'll be shooting fish packed into a barrel with no defenses.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      Yeah, because cops are more spupider there. And all cops shoot elusively and all good citizens shoot perfectly. This has been proven in all Die Hard and Lethal Weapon movies. Thanks for being a good guy and thinking good guy things.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
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