Shooting Bloodies New York Landmark

By Long, Colleen; Hays, Tom | Winnipeg Free Press, August 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

Shooting Bloodies New York Landmark


Long, Colleen, Hays, Tom, Winnipeg Free Press


Police slay killer at murder scene

NEW YORK -- A women's accessories designer fatally shot a vice-president from his former company outside the Empire State Building on Friday, causing a chaotic showdown with police in front of one of the world's best-known landmarks. Police killed the suspect and at least nine others were wounded, some by stray police gunfire, authorities said.

The gunshots rang out on the Fifth Avenue side of the building at around 9 a.m., when pedestrians on their way to work packed sidewalks and merchants were opening their shops.

"People were yelling 'Get down! Get down!' " said Marc Engel, an accountant who was on a bus in the area when he heard the shots. "It took about 15 seconds, a lot of 'pop, pop, pop, pop' -- one shot after the other."

Afterward, he saw the sidewalks littered with the wounded, including one person "dripping enough blood to leave a stream."

Wearing a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase, Jeffrey Johnson wordlessly walked up to the vice-president, identified by officials as Steven Ercolino, put a gun to his head and fired three times, according to authorities and witnesses.

"Jeffrey just came from behind two cars, pulled out his gun, put it up to Steve's head and shot him," said Carol Timan, whose daughter, Irene, was walking to Hazan Imports at the time with Ercolino.

Johnson, 58, had traded accusations of harassment while working at Hazan, police commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

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