Entries in Empire State Building (3)


Empire State Building Shooter Didn’t Expect to Return Home

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A search of the apartment of the gunman killed by police outside the Empire State Building last week showed the shooter apparently had no intention of returning home after shooting his former co-worker.

Police found an envelope with his keys left behind for his landlord, leading investigators to believe he did not expect to be back.

Jeffrey Johnson was killed by police last Friday in midtown Manhattan, after killing a former co-worker on the street and raising his .45-calibre semi-automatic gun at police officers.  Although he did not get off any shots, officers fired 16 shots, killing Johnson, and wounding nine bystanders.

Witnesses told ABC News that police shouted to Johnson to stop before the shooting began.

Despite initial reports on social media of a mass shooting spree, all nine bystanders were hit by police gunfire.  None of the bystanders -- who were hit by bullets or shrapnel -- were seriously injured.  

It isn’t that unusual for bystanders to get caught in crossfire between police and a suspect.  Even on a crowded street, like the one outside the Empire State Building, police officers are trained to shoot if they have a clear shot at somebody they consider to be a threat.

Steve Kardian, a former Westchester police officer, told ABC News it’s a matter of public safety.

“If he has to be neutralized in a crowd, it is better to take him out than to risk him shooting the officers and shooting other people in the vicinity,” Kardian said.

In cases such as this, where bystanders were injured by police bullets, the victims often sue the police department or the city.  Some win large settlements, but if the police can show the suspect they shot posed a threat, courts may rule in favor of the police and grant them immunity for liability.

In this case, police could argue that a man pointing a loaded gun at police, as surveillance video shows Johnson did, is certainly such a threat.

Johnson had been in a long-standing dispute with Steven Ercolino, an employee at Hazan Imports Corp., where Johnson used to work.  His employment there ended bitterly, and the two men had filed complaints against each other.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Empire State Building Shooting Suspect Kept Firing After Victim Fell

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The gunman who triggered a wild shootout in front of the Empire State Building Friday gunned down a former co-worker without saying a word, and stood over his prone victim to pump more bullets into him, police said Friday.

The shooter, identified by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as Jeffrey Johnson, pulled his gun a second time when confronted by two police officers a half block away and pointed it at the police.

He was cut down in a hail of 16 bullets that left Johnson riddled with 10 bullet holes. Nine bystanders were also wounded by what police believe were ricochets, police said.

Johnson, 58, was lurking outside a building adjacent to the Empire State Building. The building housed Hazan Imports Corp., which had once contracted with Johnson to design T-shirts, police said, according to WABC-TV in New York.

Johnson's relationship with the company ended bitterly a year ago in a dispute with the company's account executive, Steven Ercolino, 41, police said.

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A friend of Ercolino's who witnessed the shooting told police that she noticed Johnson, who was wearing a suit and carrying a black bag, outside the building. She saw him walk up to Ercolino and without saying a word, fire five times at the victim and keep firing as Ercolino slumped to the ground, police said.

Ercolino's father was heartbroken.

"Steven was a wonderful son. He was very good son and person," Frank Ercolino of Warwick, N.Y., told ABC News.

Johnson calmly walked away from the shooting, the witness told police, but New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he was followed by a construction worker. The worker alerted two New York Police Department officers who confronted Johnson. Johnson pulled his gun again, held the gun chest high and extended his arm, police said.

The two cops, who were about eight feet away from Johnson, opened fire, killing Johnson.

"He tried to shoot at the cops," Bloomberg said. "We do not know if he got any shots off."

Police said Johnson had a .45-caliber handgun and there was an extra clip of bullets in his bag.

Johnson was struck at least seven times and some of the 10 bullet holes were exit wounds, authorities said.

The nearby curb was lined with large cement flower pots meant to thwart an attempted car bomb, and some were damaged.

Witness George King told ABC News he watched several people around him struck by bullets.

"I heard multiple gunshots, I'd say about 12 of them," he said. "I thought they were firecrackers, at first. I didn't know what was going on. Everyone started running for cover along with me. The girl that was running next to me fell down to the pavement and, when I looked at her, I could see she had been hit in the leg. She was bleeding from the leg."

"I noticed about five people who had been struck on the sidewalk or the street," he said.

Another witness to the shooting, Cyrus Balanlayos, told ABC News he was on a bus just outside the Empire State building when he heard several very quick gunshots.

"I looked up and saw hundreds of people running north. It seemed like a Godzilla film," Balanlayos said. "I saw two bodies on the ground right in front of the bus."

Balanlayos said that after he got off the bus he saw another two other people who appeared to have been shot -- a man and a woman.

"All I heard was, 'Oh my god, Oh my god,'" he said.

Police said Johnson legally bought his gun in Sarasota, Fla., in 1991. He illegally brought it to New York City, which has strict gun laws.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Shooting Near Empire State Building in New York

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A man who had been fired from his job a year ago shot and killed a former co-worker outside New York City's Empire State Building Friday morning, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

At least nine others were wounded. The mayor said some of the wounded "may have been accidentally" shot by police officers.

Speaking near the crime scene, Bloomberg told reporters the man, identified as Jeffrey Johnson, 58, had been fired from his job at Hazan Import Corp., which specializes in women's accessories, last year and returned to his former offices to confront a coworker.

After a dispute with the coworker, Johnson pulled a .45 caliber handgun and shot his former coworker three times, killing him, authorities said.

The victim, who was 41, was not immediately identified.

As Johnson left the scene of the shooting, he was followed by a construction worker, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. The construction worker alerted two NYPD officers who confronted the man. Johnson pulled his gun again, at which point the police drew their own weapons and killed him.

"He tried to shoot at the cops... We do not know if he got any shots off," Bloomberg said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio