Shooter identified in attack near Empire State Building
Published: Friday, August 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Today at 9:03 a.m. ET, a disgruntled former employee of Hazan Imports fired gunshots outside of 10 W. 33rd Street in New York City, around the corner from the Empire State Building. Officials have identified the man as Jeffrey Johnson, 53.
In a press conference around 11:20 a.m. ET, Mayor Bloomberg confirmed previous speculation that Johnson had been turned away from Hazan after showing up earlier this morning. Johnson had worked for the company as a women’s accessory designer for six years, but had been fired last year due to cut backs.
Johnson then waited outside where he confronted his former supervisor, Hazan’s vice president of sales, Steven Ercolino, 41. Johnson shot Ercolino three times at close range. At least one of those shots was to the head and was fatal.
Bloomberg said that Johnson then fled the scene but a construction worker who had witness the shooting followed him and alerted two police officers standing outside the Empire State Building. When the officers confronted Johnson he withdrew his .45-caliber pistol, at which point an officer shot and killed Johnson.
Nine others, two women and seven men, were injured in the incident. No names have been released and officials say that none of the injuries appear to be life threatening. Bloomberg said that some of the victims “may have been shot accidently by police officers.”
Bloomberg and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who also spoke at the press conference, urged patience with the ongoing investigation. Reminding reporters, and the public, that a lot of information still has to be gathered. Bloomberg did say, however, the Johnson does not appear to have a criminal record.
Bloomberg, who has called for tougher gun control laws in the past, ended the press conference by saying, “once again, there’s an awful lot of guns out there.”