Labor's Pains

Friday, August 24, 2012

Jeffrey Johnson, Empire State Building Shooter, Quiet And 'Very Lonely,' Neighbors Recall

Jeffrey Johnson, Empire State Building Shooter, Quiet And 'Very Lonely,' Neighbors Recall

LP: More news from the American shooting gallery.

NEW YORK -- A laid-off women's clothing designer killed by police after shooting his former boss near the Empire State Building was a quiet and fastidious man who lived alone with his two cats in an apartment building on the Upper East Side, neighbors said.

Jeffrey Johnson, 58, almost always wore a suit and tie, even after losing his job as an accessories designer a year ago, according to Gisela Casella, 71, a neighbor who said she spoke with him often. His suits were "immaculate," and the sound of vacuuming could often be heard from inside his apartment, she said.

Guillermo Suarez, the building's superintendent, said Johnson was friendly but was always alone. "This guy was very mellow," he said. "Very mellow and very lonely."

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Johnson was fired from his job at Hazan Imports, a women's handbag company with offices near the Empire State Building, about a year ago, and that he shot and killed the firm's office manager, Steve Ercolino. The two men were involved in a dispute involving allegations of harassment, Kelly said.

Johnson was dressed in a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase when he opened fire with a .45 caliber handgun just after 9 a.m. on a crowded street in midtown Manhattan. After Ercolino was dead, Johnson aimed his weapon at police and was killed in a hail of gunfire by officers, the NYPD said.

The New York Fire Department said 8 people were transported to area hospitals for injuries related to the shootings. Many of those injured appear to have been hit by bullets or shrapnel from shots fired by police, Kelly said. All of the injured are expected to survive.
Chaos erupted on the streets in the seconds after shots were fired as hundreds of people s storyought to flee the area, witnesses said.

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