Witnesses Recount Shooting at Empire State Building

As they approached their office on West 33rd Street, Irene Timan told the New York Post that she saw Johson emerge from behind a truck and pull out a gun

Saturday, Aug 25, 2012  |  Updated 12:17 PM EDT
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Bystanders Help The Wounded

NBC 4 New York/AP

Police officers at the scene of the shooting outside the Empire State building Friday. The gunman was identified as 58-year-old Jeffrey Johnson (inset left, NBC 4 New York exclusive); the victim was Steven Ercolino (inset right).

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Who is Jeffrey Johnson?

Who is Jeffrey Johnson, the man accused of firing the shots that killed a former co-worker near Empire State Building before being shot dead by cops? Chris Glorioso has more from the Upper East Side, where his superintendent and neighbors described him as a fastidious, neatly dressed creature of habit.

Terrified Bystanders Fled Shooting

Chaos and terror reigned Friday morning when gunshots rang out at an iconic spot where sidewalks were packed with pedestrians and merchants opening their shops. Tracie Strahan has more.
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Irene Timan was walking with her co-worker Steve Ercolino when he was ambushed Friday morning by Jeffrey Johnson, a disgruntled former employee at the women's clothing company where they worked.

As they approached their office on West 33rd Street, Timan told the New York Post that she saw Johnson emerge from behind a truck and pull out a gun.

"Steve didn’t see it because he was talking to me,” said Timan, 41. “He just came right in front of Steve, pulled out a gun, and opened fire.

“Steve screamed, and I ran.”

Timan said Johnson, who was laid off from the Hazan Imports fashion company last year, showed no sign of remorse as he fired five rounds into Ercolino.

“He just kept shooting and shooting and shooting,” Timan said to the Post. “Everybody started running away from the gunman. I called 911."

John Sullivan, 52, a worker at the Empire State Building who also saw the shooting, said Johnson was eerily calm after murdering Ercolino.

“He walked like he was in the back yard,” Sullivan told the Post. “People [following him] were screaming, ‘The man in the gray suit! The man in the gray suit!’ ”

As he walked around the corner and headed up Fifth Avenue towards police, Sullivan said Johnson remained calm.

“He knew what he was doing,” said Sullivan, who thought Johnson planned to commit suicide-by-cop. “He knew he was going to die. He didn’t want to live."

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