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.

Are you there? Share your story

• 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. solrac503

    Banning guns is NOT the answer. Giving out courtesy guns is the answer. But we can only give them out to good people, so if you're a bad person you wouldn't get a gun out of courtesy. YOU BETTER THINK TWICE, YOU SUICIDAL MANIAC.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dallas Corban

    Nine others were wounded or grazed in the exchange of gunfire? They couldn't have been more discreet about following him until they were in a less populated situation? Time for the badge of whoever made that call.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard Jones

      Sounds like Bloombergstein needs to pay attention to the training of his cops. Maybe Clint Eastwood or Crocidile Dundee could come back and give them some much needed training !!!

      August 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TomVIO

    The only way to stop gun violence is to stop manufacturing guns.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      That's only so YOU can feel better, I'd feel in more danger.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Common Sense

    Let's see....

    Guy shoots his "co-worker" but was laid off from his job over a year ago. Guess he wasn't a co-worker then...
    There was an "exchange of fire" but they're not sure if the shooter "got off a shot"....
    Two people were killed, the gunman (by the police), his co-worker (by the gunman), and a woman (by ???). Makes perfect sense.

    Proof that you don't have to actually have a brain to report on a story.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • TomVIO

      The woman is the co-worker... it says 2 people killed including the gunman.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lcky9

    This can't be right aren't GUNS BANNED there??????? Must be a misprint..

    August 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bloom'n idiot

    But I thought NYC had tough gun laws. So this is impossible. Mayor Bloomy said the rest of the country needs to follow his lead to be safe like NY. This must be a made up story 'cause NY gun laws would clearly prevent this type of thing from actually happening...

    ...right?

    August 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Conquest915

    I have a CWP and carry a gun because a cop is to heavy!

    Shame those people couldn't have that right…they would have had a least a chance!

    August 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ol' Yeller

    @American Fury.... yes, you are sooo bad. We know exactly what you would do to... and it would result in the need of about a 1/2 roll of toilet paper, some wet wipes, a large dose of of Tide, and about 6 years of therapy.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pete

    It looks like other than the guy that was killed by the perp, the NYPD shot the rest of the bystanders.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. solrac503

    Cool story, brohime.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steve

    Gunman with motive kills man. Police kill gunman, shoot nine others.

    This spin should get interesting.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    The second amendment is about people being able to fight back against a tyrannical government. The right to bear arms is the people's protection against oppression and over zealous politicians. The ability for personal protection is a nice side-effect, but it is not the main reason for the second amendment.

    Even if you could some how completely ban civilian gun ownership, the tyranny that may occur would be much more devastating than the current gun crimes. Just look at what happened in Nazi Germany, Turkey, China, Russia, Cambodia, or Guatemala. I think every sane person would want to live in the United States, where obstacles to tyranny, like the second amendment, ensure liberty for all.

    Those of you that will say that tyranny will never occur in America have a lot more faith in our political system and politicians than I do.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jason

    How can this be? New York city has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. You mean people that are going to kill others don't pay attention to gun restriction laws. Shocking.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac503

      And even more shocking is that the guy was wearing an eye patch, had a metal hand and was petting a cat. If guns were legal people could shoot anyone with a beard, limp, or if they have a devious laugh. And, of course, if shots are fired and everyone pulls out a gun, we'll be able to determine the good guy by the sparkle in their eye.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nine others wounded

    Not to pre-judge....but after this guy was shot by the cops 9 other were wounded in the gunfire? Who were those cops aiming at the perpetrator or inosent bystanders?

    huh? Safest big city in the world is New York.... I though it was City of Greenhorn, Oregon, population 0

    August 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. J Corley Ackley

    There is much talk about the mental health issues generally involved in such tragedies. The first tragedy is our society's "blind eye" to appropriately address the needs of people with mental health issues. It has become (and really has always been) the invisable disease–ignore those needs, and they don't exist. The second greatest tragedy is that virtually anyone who wants a gun can get a gun. So often people use the excuse, "but that gunman is/was mentally ill". But the gunman was able to get a gun!!! The third tragedy is the access to guns of those people on the "fringe"–those who feel it is a God-given right to carry guns for "protection". Okay, so who needs semi- automatic weapons

    August 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      It's a travesty that inanimate objects like guns, drugs, cigarettes and automobiles are killing people left right and center. If we could save just one life by banning any potentially harmful instrumentality, isn't such a restriction not only warranted, but a moral imperative? Personally, I keep all my guns locked up in an effort to stem their attempts to wantonly kill innocent people. Beware of violent guns! Negligent physicians, however, don't worry about. Medical negligence doesn't harm as many people as violent objects. Wait, is that right?

      August 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99