August 24, 2012

Shooting NY's Empire State Building

Will the deadly shootings ever stop.

On 8-24-12
Two dead, 8 wounded in gunfire near NY's Empire State Building
I posted 3 pictures.

By Lily Kuo and Chris Francescani

NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters) - An out-of-work fashion designer fatally shot a former co-worker near the Empire State Building on Friday and then was killed in a blaze of gunshots by police, stunning tourists and commuters outside of one of New York's most popular landmarks.

Eight bystanders were wounded, possibly all of them by police bullets, though none of their injuries were life-threatening, police said.

Officials said that women's accessories designer Jeffrey Johnson, 58, had been laid off from Hazan Imports a year ago and that while working there, had been locked in a dispute with the victim. Police said Johnson had claimed the victim had failed to sell enough of his creations and held a grudge.

Investigators were attempting to determine whether Johnson shot anyone beyond his initial target. All eight of the surviving victims could have been hit by the two police officers who shot at Johnson, officials said.

Several were likely hit by police bullets that ricocheted off large, anti-terror concrete flower pots stationed outside the Manhattan landmark, police said.

Other than its proximity, the Empire State Building had no link to the violence. Mayor Michael Bloomberg ruled out any connection to terrorism.

The shooting rattled an always-busy part of Midtown Manhattan at the height of the tourist season. I saw a friend of mine lying on the street bleeding. She was in shock," said Christopher Collins, who said he tried to keep her calm as he rode with her in an ambulance. "I'm glad the cops shot him dead. One less trial we have to go through."

The mother of a co-worker who witnessed the shooting identified the dead executive as Steve Ercolino. Police declined to confirm his identity.

Ercolino was walking toward Hazan Imports, across 33rd Street from the Empire State Building, and stopped to talk to a colleague. Johnson, dressed in a suit and tie and carrying a black canvas bag, walked up and shot Ercolino at close range, police said, and then stood over the man and shot him again a total of five shots.

Johnson, carrying a second magazine in his bag, then walked "calmly" a block away, police said, past two officers stationed in front of the entrance to the Empire State Building. A pair of construction workers who witnessed the shooting followed Johnson and tipped off the officers, pointing at Johnson as he passed, police said.

The two cops approached Johnson, who drew his gun, turned and pointed it directly at the officers from about eight feet (2.4 meters) away, police said. Police opened fire and shot him, Police Department spokesman Paul Browne told reporters.

One officer fired nine times and the other seven times, Browne said. Investigators believe Johnson was shot seven times; his body had 10 bullets wounds, three of which were believed to be exit wounds, Browne said.

Animosity between Johnson and Ercolino had prompted them to file counter complaints with police in April 2011, Browne said. No charges resulted from the complaints.


It was the third major shooting of the summer in the United States, following an assault on a crowded cinema in Colorado and an attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, rekindling debate about gun control in America. The New York shooting was different in that Johnson appeared to have only one intended victim.

Anna Baty

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