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. Dennis D

    Obama has brought nothing but despair and anger.

    August 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      No jobs created, downsizing.. the finger can only be pointed to Obama for raising everyones hopes only to find out he has delivered an employment nightmare. Bloomberg is a political lacky of the democrats who wears a republican label.. Bloomberg polices of tax and spend are causing companies to lay off while Obama polices destroys any future job creation.

      August 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • CurleyJoe

      Tragic as is it I am surprised it was not blamed on the Tea Party
      Perhaps it is just a matter of time
      keep the faith and their families in your prayers

      August 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • JARNYBOY

      Act of war! Retaliate at mexican embasy in the states. Oh ya, I forgot, the wimps that we call american males are obese and at 37, are still playing x box in mommy's basement

      August 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Al

    This was not a random act of violence. I have no doubt that this was the culmination of a long, simmering, dispute with a
    coworker that ended in the perp's dismissal and precipitated her murder: The motivation was revenge: plain and simple.
    It was premeditated murder by a disgruntled coworker who got canned.

    Also, (and I'm sorry to say it) – when it comes to marksmanship the NYPD really sucks. They need to raise their qualilfications, and above all PRACTICE at least once every three months – not once a year. If you can't hit center mass on a man-sized target out to 25 yards, stay behind a desk until you can.

    August 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • netninja

      Actually you can say that to just about anyone who is in a life or death situation when guns are involved. When you shoot someone they don't die right away unless you get the lucky shot that instantly incapacitates someone. Shooting paper targets at a range is not the same as the potential to loose your life. Adrenaline and possibly gasping for breath add to the stessors to aquiring and indentifying your target and we haven't even talked about all the background noise.

      All the training in the world especially for police officers doesn't get you ready for that life and death situation. This is not the movies, there are no dress rehersals. You make a mistake and it's your life or an innocent bystander.

      August 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bob the builder

    after spending the last 3 1/2 years demonizing bosses and business owners, Obama needs to answer for his involvement in this shooting rampage.
    Stoking class warfare leads to people being hurt and killed.

    August 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    OK, according to the mayor this guy had 8 rounds in the mag. It sounds like he used a Colt 1911 45. He shot his boss 3 times leaving him 4 or 5 rounds in the mag & chamber. He never reloaded the weapon so, How Many people did the NYPD shoot, was it 4,5 or all nine?

    August 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • LMAO

      @Pagan, true that. If you're a manager firing people, you better have security close. Or get a contracted human resources to draw fire. Getting fired now, if you're over 50, forget about it. You're unemployable. Plan on that disgruntled ex employee freeking.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mario

    This is ridiculous. I come from the John Wayne era. You have a dispute worth fighting about, you take it outside and you duke it out! These sissies who "file complaints" and rely on the police are merely conditioned sheeple, conditioned by the state to rely on big brother to solve all their problems. Man up! Go outside and fight with your fists like real men do.

    August 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AngryJew

    It is time to stop giving our taxes to Apartheid Israel.

    August 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jullou

    The "Jimmy Carter Misery Index" applies now. This is Obama's misery index and misery is what he needs to continue to advance his Marxist agenda. Wake up leftists and think.

    August 24, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      We are thinking, that's why we support 0bama! As America transitions from a white christian capitalist society (read Repoob) to a multi cultural secular socialist society (read Dem), you have to expect some tension to erupt into violence now and then. A small price to pay, really, to transform America

      August 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    There you have it, Obama and Bloomberg's vision for America, all over the sidewalk in Midtown Manhattan.

    August 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. yarply

    I didn't read it in this story but besides his boss,,, Ex Boss that is, he didn't shoot anyone else. Just his ex boss and maybe shot at one cop. The cops have already admitted that the bystanders may have and probably were hit by the POLICE.

    August 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Scrapiron

    President murders two and causes several more injuries since the downsizing occurred on his watch. If Romney is responsible for the death of a woman he never met and he had left the company 7 years before she got cancer O'Dumbo is responsible for this. Now democrats eat this s*** and blame someone else for things they had nothing to do with.

    August 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. skycaptain777

    An evil man with evil intent did this crime. Absolute banning of gun ownership in New York accomplished nothing. The heroes with guns, the officers, stopped the POS.

    As a famous American, Charleton Heston once said:

    "There are no good guns. There are no bad guns. Any gun in the hands of a bad man is a bad thing. Any gun in the hands of a decent person is no threat to anybody--except bad people.

    August 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. THE TRUTH

    Mayor Bloombergs cops fired dozens of rounds on a crowded street and shot all these people. Practice GUN CONTROL ON YOUR OWN COPS MAYOR~~~

    August 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. libknocker

    The LIBS are blaming Arizona gun laws .To all you LIBS out there it was the Mexican Navy

    August 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Mayur Boombox 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 gunviolence.
    But Hey!
    paraphrased from the Daily Beast
    As the sun rose Sunday, New York City hit a remarkable milestone, recording just 193 murders in the first six months of the year. In that same span, more than 250 murders were recorded in Chicago—a city just one third as large.
    Chicago. Isn't that Obamas' home town?

    August 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    This is part of "our" bill of rights.
    This is, the real deal.
    If you allow yourself and others to re-elect Obama for another four years, congress and Obama will be working overtime to see to it "you lose your second amendment rights". You will no longer be able to have arms to defend yourself against an armed attacker.
    Amendment II
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    August 25, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
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