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. VC

    There are no guns in NY....Only Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. lindaluttrell

    Glad the killed the shooter. If cops could do this everytime, just maybe some of this insanity would stop.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Duke5343

      SAVE Billions in legal costs to Tax payers if they all got shot and died on the spot

      August 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. JK

    Good job NYPD! If only the aurora CO PD would have done the same.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. PL

    19 people were shot in Chicago last night but no one seems to care about that...

    Weird.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Because I said so ...

    I can't believe this, guns are not allowed in the Peoples Republic of New York... thats against the law!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • TheMovieFan

      The People's Republic has Wall Street?

      August 24, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Cheap shot(get it) cause we are so touched by this sort of nonsense. Lol, Very real and accurate observation though. Sad that this goes on because those liberals keep turning criminals into the victims and pattycaking justice. Guns are gonna stay regardless of what some people may try to pawn off as intelligence, or what some people may think is the enabler of these sorts of occurences. The second amendment is very important to the protection of the peoples rights, more important than any liberal opinion without any factual basis or even an accurate model of the recourse of trying to remove that fundamental right. Go NRA, You are there for a reason.....

      August 24, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. MikeB

    It is such a tragedy to see how people deal with the pain found in their lives. Too bad we just can't learn how to deal with the incompetencies and stresses in the world, build better support systems and learn to love fellow man for the pure goodness of ones soul.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Yes

      Now this is a decent post!

      August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. jeff

    This country doesn't need gun control, we need psycho control. If we ban ownership of guns (which NY has strict gun control to begin with), they somehow end up getting them. Let's correct the problem at the source – the people – not the tools used.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • TheMovieFan

      They get a lot of their guns from states with lax gun control laws.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Yes

      Yes, but I think we are in need of serious culture reform. We glorify MMA, rap, and violence (to name just a few), and worship money and material possessions, then wonder why so many see violence as a solution.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. TheMovieFan

    Another proud day for the NRA.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      No, a proud day for the NRA is when a concealed handgun license holder drops the mentally deranged gunman before he hurts more people.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rose

    CRAZY people do not come only in one color!!! You see them every day in every color!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Duke5343

      GUN laws working JUST fine in NYC i see DOOMBERG is right we need MORE laws

      August 24, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Frank

    Now this is "Workplace Violence" Obama. Not "terrorism"

    August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brian

    gun ban is doing a lot of good....criminals don't follow laws by definition

    August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • lionhart

      Gun laws should not be left up to the states. It should be managed at the federal level. As it stands now you can buy guns legally in Arizona where they practically have no gun laws and go to New York where they have more gun laws and shoot up the place.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. mmm2

    I find your comment offensive.....an event like this is not something to make fun of

    August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. sw

    Doesn't NYC have a no handgun law? Now I know it doesn't state what kind of gun was used but my guess is a handgun. So my arguement is: NO LAW STOPPED A CRIMINAL MIND FROM FOLLOWING THROUGH WITH AN ACT OF VIOLENCE! Banning guns will not stop this type of behavior. So please stop with the guns are the problem

    August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • mrhapiguy

      Guns are trafficked in to NYC all the time from other areas of the country where you can buy them. We need a federal ban for it to work.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. Wow

    Just a reminder. GUNS ARE BANNED in NYC. Didn't stop this from happening. Maybe they elevator worker could have saved more lives if he had a gun and was able to stop the shoorter. Think about that before trying to take away 2nd ammendment rights.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • sammy sozo

      Or maybe he would have missed and killed more people. Dummy.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • elizabeth

      Yes, guns are banned in NYC but they are NOT banned in the majority of the US. Anyone could buy a gun elsewhere, bring it in-state, and then use it to kill in NYC. We need stricter gun control laws across the country; degenerating into the Wild West is not the answer here.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ringo

    Chris Rock got it right....all bullets should cost $5000.00.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
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