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. Bob Franks

    ... and ban pool chemical, and cars.... and ban antique sworgs.... and pool chemicals,,,,,, and ban little league baseball bats.... and gasoline (so many arsons – like 6 every week) and ban those buses...

    and airplanes... we know what mis-use can lead to...
    and ban those little potatos...

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

    Pool chemicals? Off topic. Ban, bullets.du

    August 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      If Romney i responsible for that idiots wie dying becaue of him being laid off, isn;t Obama responsible for this man being unemployed and therefore the dead people are a result of Obama and his failed ideas? What is fair is fair!

      August 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. stanley

    TAKE BY THE HAND< JEFF JOHNSON<lets walk together,into heaven Those picture sof you on the sidewalk are horrible, your so beutiful.

    August 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Matt Ziegler

    What is truly disturbing about this story is what is not being said. 2 people dead. the woman shot in the head.by the assailant, probably at close range. this woman was the intended victim, there were no others – this was not a crazy nut on a rampage like the shooter at Va Tech. The assailant attempted to flee and was identified and stopped by New York's finest. The story states that the assailant attempted to draw a .45 and was shot dead. It further states that he probably did not fire a shot (at the police) At that point the police opened fire and killed the assailant – AND WOUNDED 9 OTHER PEOPLE. NINE! They may be New York's finest,but they are certainl not New York's finest marksmen. Did one of the police empty a clip with their eyes closed? The story also describes an "exchange of gunfire". There was no exchange if the assailant did not fire a shot. This was probably a police assisted suicide.

    This should be investigated. the training and certification requirements for New York police for marksmanship.

    To serve and protect. Not if you fire your weapon on a crowded street and hit and innocent bystanders instead.

    Nine times.

    August 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • february

      i witnessed the police shoot darius kennedy 2 saturdays ago tomorrow. he did give them an arrogant chase, but went in front of NYPD firing squad for challenging them. i witnessed the second officer shooting a man that had given up and was already on the ground. 12 shots for an 11 inch IKEA blade. you do the thinking...

      August 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Beck60

    Seems to me the cops were on the shooting rampage...I understand they are the ones that wounded the bystanders..

    August 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wavychips

    A man with no criminal record buys a firearm, loses his job, and decides to vent his hatred on others by killing them. And still we wonder when will America chose common sense gun controls. The time is coming when the U.S. Supreme Court must rule that the Second Amendment is a collective right, and not an individual one. We already understand that this is true because the Second Amendment says so. "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The word people is plural, not singular. And it is an individual right it can be regulated by the government as a privilege the same as a driver's license. If the individual buying a firearm can be proven capable of gun ownership with a demonstrated need, the necessary skills, and mental stability, the purchase can proceed. Those individuals already possessing firearms must then demonstrate their need, skills, and mental competency for continued ownership and use on a continuing basis or have their ownership privileges restricted or revoked.

    August 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Schuh

      You don’t know how he got the gun.

      August 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seansa

      I know right? Next we should determine who is eligible for that pesky first amendment also. Let's make sure that the person that chooses to exercise free speech is going to say something agreeable and universally accepted as factual.

      While we are at it, lets make the fifth amendment only applicable to people who we know are already innocent. Due process is only for those we deem acceptable as a society.

      August 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • notayankee

      Apparantly you have no clue what is required to purchase a firearm from a dealer, or get a concealed Carry permit, which you cannot do in NYC. Gun free zone you know. And of course we know that the local drug dealer who also sells firearms on the street corner will comply with all these redundant laws you want to pass. Maybe you should make it against the law to shoot and kill people.

      August 24, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      Good Idea! Why stop there? Let's also ban heroin, cocaine, marijuana – and don't forget scissors and knives and hammers.

      August 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Patriot

      It is called murder and it is already illegal. Guns are not the problem, murderers are the problem. If you make guns harder to get, they will use knives, baseball bats, poison, large vehicles, open windows, big heavy rocks, etc. Murderers have been killing since Cain and Able and all the gun control in the world will not fix the problem. In fact all studies and common sense if you had any show that gun violence INCREASES in direct proportion to the amount of gun control in a given jurisdiction. Criminals pay no attention to gun laws which only serve to guarantee them that their victims will be unarmed and completely defenseless. Kenessaw, Georgia is the perfect example – since the town passed a mandatory gun per household law in 1982, the crime rate dropped to and has stayed at almost zero. Some of the highest gun crime areas such as Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington DC also have the strictest gun laws. Gun laws work real good don't ya think.........NOT.

      August 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mojo

      Well wavychips, looks like those replying shot holes in your misguided attempt to voice support to disarm freedom loving citizens. Perhaps you should change sides, learn and abandon the anti-American mindset you've picked up.

      August 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • suzanne

      I was under the impression that New York has the strictest gun laws!!!! This should be a lesson to you all If ANYBODY wants a gun they can get it no matter what, even a criminal!

      August 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. big al

    We need to control the firing of people, we need to ban it! That is what got us into this mess in the first place! Layoffs, firing, closing businesses, etc. We need the city of new york to subsidize all laid off workers so this tragedy never happens again! Mayor Bloomberg, do your job! Open up that budget and rescue all of those people who have, are or will be fired! Create a fund that will immediately kick in whenever someone is fired. There's a lot of "Rich" guys in NYC that need to pay their bit and I suggest it start with you sir! 50% more of your income devoted to this noble cause will show the world that your heart is in the right place. Maybe you can hire all of the people over at your bloomberg operation, huh? (I betcha you can even afford to give them 32 oz slurpees there too! huh? no?)

    August 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tired of the Trolls

    Man there are a lot of NRA trolls on today. How much do they pay you guys per post?

    August 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • notayankee

      Probably the same amount that all the Liberal trolls get for posting their tired old Brady Bunch talking points.

      August 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. stacie in colorado

    Perhaps ole Bloomy should dis-arm his police force if they can't even shoot straight – NINE innocent folks caught in the cross fire!!!!!!! NINE!

    August 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CBO

    If gun control is the solution to all the killing, then we also need to ban cars, they kill lots more people. The logic of gun control escapes me. I lived in a third world country at one point and that country banned all guns. So the only people who had guns were a few of the police and ALL of the criminals. Crime is awful because the criminal KNOW they have easy targets and there will not be any resistance. Is that what we want in America? People who want gun control have not a clue what they are talking about.

    August 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Guerrino Lucas

    Have they blamed it on George Bush yet.

    August 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rick

    After worshiping at the alter of the almighty dollar, Americans now have little or no proper judgement or morality left any longer.

    August 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Martin

    Gun control does not extend to gunmen. Gunmen are supposed to carry guns, otherwise they would not be gunmen. The only time you can be be a gunmen is when you are able to carry a gun; there is one exception – if you are a woman then you would be gunwoman or a gunperson.

    Since women do not feel as threatened as men do, they incidence of gunwomen being reported is significantly less. Now, if the gunman or gunwoman happens to look middle-eastern or by any chance subscribes to the Islamic faith then he/she is immediately upgraded to a terrorist.

    August 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. robert

    The news media is having an orgasm over this. It's as if they actually enjoy seeing people hurt.

    August 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Doug Pearson

    This would not have been a story beyond NYC had the NYPD been able to control their guns... two cops, one bad guy at close range who does not manage to get off a shot. The NYPD empty their mags injuring 9 civilians. I am betting that the kill shot was a ricochet... purely accidental.

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