Who was Jeffrey Johnson? Facts about gunman in Empire State Building shooting

August 24, 2012

Jeffrey Johnson, 58, shot and killed a former colleague Friday morning outside the Empire State Building. Johnson’s brazen attack — he shot his victim, Steven Ercolino, in broad daylight — and the chaos it sparked has various news organizations and individuals trying to find out more about him. So far, this is what we know:

The attack stemmed from a workplace dispute: Johnson worked for Hazan Import Corp. as a designer of women’s accesories for six years, according to New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Johnson lost his job about a year ago when the company downsized, according to Kelly. Johnson’s victim was Steven Ercolino, a vice president of sales at Hazan. Citing a police report, NBC New York said that in 2011, while riding in an elevator together, Johnson told Ercolino, “I am going to kill you.”

Johnson’s routine: Nearly every morning, Johnson would leave his apartment building on the Upper East Side and walk to the neighborhood McDonald’s before returning with a bag of food, according to a neighbor who was interviewed by the New York Times. Today, Jonson left the building like he always had, but didn’t return.

Johnson was an artist and illustrator: According to a cached version of Johnson’s LinkedIn page, he attended the well-regarded Ringling School of Art & Design. He also owned his own T-shirt design company called St. Jolly T-Shirt Co. The T-shirt company’s Web site shows designs for iron-on transfers. The drawings are mostly centered around cars, jets and motorcycles. The drawings are signed by Johnson and some include cartoon women standing next to the vehicles.

The gun: NBC New York: “Johnson had no criminal record. His handgun was purchased in Florida in 1991, two law enforcement sources said. He was not licensed to carry in New York City.”

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