Empire State Building Shooting: Police Release Surveillance Video

ABC News
Empire State Building Shooter Didn't Expect to Return Home After Shooting
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Empire State Building Shooter Didn't Expect to Return Home After Shooting (ABC News)

The New York Police Department released surveillance video showing the moment two officers opened fire on a man who had just gunned down a former work acquaintance in front of the Empire State Building.

Police said Jeffrey Johnson shot Steven Ercolino, a former co-worker, on Friday and then stood over his prone body, pumping more bullets into him.

With his weapon in a black bag, Johnson made his way up Fifth Avenue, where his dramatic and deadly confrontation with officers was captured on surveillance tape.

The 58-year-old former fashion designer turned his gun on the officers who were standing eight feet away from him, however it appeared to have jammed, police said.

Johnson was killed by a hail of police gunfire as bystanders ran through the streets, trying to escape the shooting.

At least nine people were wounded, likely by police bullets or flying shards from planters that were hit, police said.

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.

The saga unfolded shortly after 9 a.m. on Friday in New York's bustling Midtown area.

Johnson was lurking outside a building adjacent to the Empire State Building, ABC News station WABC-TV in New York reported.

The building housed Hazan Imports Corp., which had once contracted with Johnson to design T-shirts, police told WABC.

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.

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 told WABC.

Ercolino's father said he 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.

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

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