Skip to main content

Empire State Building shooter left keys with landlord

From Deborah Feyerick, CNN
updated 5:35 AM EDT, Tue August 28, 2012
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, center, and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly brief reporters on the Empire State Building shooting Friday, August 24. Two people were killed, including the suspected shooter, and nine others wounded, police said. Authorities shot the gunman, whom they described as a disgruntled former employee of a business near the landmark skyscraper. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, center, and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly brief reporters on the Empire State Building shooting Friday, August 24. Two people were killed, including the suspected shooter, and nine others wounded, police said. Authorities shot the gunman, whom they described as a disgruntled former employee of a business near the landmark skyscraper.
HIDE CAPTION
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
Shooting at the Empire State Building
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police source says Jeffrey Johnson never intended to return home
  • Johnson told superintendent earlier in the week things would be resolved by Friday
  • Police searching Johnson's computer and books found in apartment
  • Officers remain on administrative duty, pending outcome of investigation

New York (CNN) -- The unemployed apparel designer who killed a former coworker near the Empire State Building on Friday morning left his Manhattan apartment intending never to return, according to a police source with knowledge of the investigation.

The police source told CNN that when Jeffrey Johnson closed his door, he left the keys behind for the landlord before heading off to shoot Steven Ercolino.

The landlord was surprised, the source said, because Johnson was scheduled to move out a week later on August 31 in anticipation of apartment renovations. Johnson apparently told the superintendent earlier in the week he had found a new place to live, had placed his cats with friends and that, "Things would be resolved by Friday."

Empire State shooting victim hit 5 times in head

NYPD Comm: Bystanders hit by police
Woman saw co-worker shot by her side
Anderson interviews shooting witness

On that day, Johnson, 58, returned to Hazan Import Corp., the company where he'd been laid off about a year earlier due to downsizing.

Police say he waited outside for Ercolino, a 41-year-old sales executive whom he blamed for losing his job. He shot Ercolino five times in the head, according to the New York City medical examiner.

Police are searching through files on Johnson's computer found in his apartment, along with several books on shooting such as "Sniper: The Techniques and Equipment of the Deadly Marksman," according to the police source.

After the shooting, Johnson quickly walked to Fifth Avenue, trying to hide among large planters. A construction worker was among those who dashed after the gunman after the initial gunshots. He alerted counter-terrorism officers assigned to the Empire State Building.

They responded and ordered Johnson to freeze. Instead, he reached into his bag and pulled out his handgun. The police source said, "Was he trying to escape the police by shooting his way out? Or disregarding his orders? You can't get into his mind."

Two officers fired 16 rounds, hitting Johnson at least seven times.

Nine other people were injured -- two after being shot by police, seven from bullets that fragmented. The NYPD uses hollow-point bullets that prevent collateral damage by mushrooming once inside the body. However, a number of the bullets struck the large planters and fragmented -- causing seven of the nine bystander injuries.

Two of the wounded remain hospitalized -- a woman reported to be in good condition and a male in fair condition -- according to Evelyn Hernandez, director of media relations at NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation.

The two officers were praised by city officials for their quick response and their accuracy in taking down the gunman. As per NYPD procedure, they are on administrative duty -- with guns and badges -- pending the outcome of the investigation by police and the district attorney.

Johnson's elderly parents and a sister in Gainesville, Georgia, have not yet claimed his body.

Police: All Empire State shooting victims were wounded by officers

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT