NYC Shooter Profile: Designer Couldn't Shake Work Grudge

Jeffrey Johnson never got along with ex-colleague
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2012 7:54 AM CDT
NYC Shooter Profile: Designer Couldn't Shake Work Grudge
In this June 30, 2012, photo provided by Jean Shum, Jeffrey Johnson is bird-watching in New York’s Central Park. Johnson was yesterday's Empire State Building shooter.   (AP Photo/Jean M. Shun)

(Newser) – News outlets are piecing together the story of 58-year-old Jeffrey Johnson, the New York City resident who ambushed and shot a former co-worker in cold blood, then was killed himself yesterday by police. Some highlights:

  • Johnson designed T-shirts at Hazan Imports before being laid off, and he had a long-running feud with his victim, 41-year-old Steven Ercolino, who worked in sales. Among other things, Johnson blamed Ercolino for not aggressively selling his shirts, reports AP.
  • “Steve and Jeff never got along,” a co-worker tells the Daily News. "Jeff just didn’t like him. He would taunt Steve, throw his elbow or shoulder into him in the hallway. Then they had a little altercation in the elevator and soon after Jeff was laid off, we never heard from or saw him again"—until yesterday. Both had reportedly filed police reports against each other after that elevator altercation.
  • They were opposites: Johnson a slight, meticulous artist-type and loner, and Ercolino a bigger, more outgoing salesman.
  • Even after being laid off, Johnson donned a business suit every morning and walked to McDonald's for breakfast, reports the New York Times, which calls him the "Upper East Side's own Willy Loman." He also was an avid birdwatcher in Central Park.
  • "He was nicest guy," says one neighbor in a separate Daily News profile. "I used to think he deserved a nice girlfriend."
  • DNAInfo has a short profile of the well-liked Ercolino here.
  • Johnson ran a website, st.jollysart.com, featuring his designs.
  • See NYPD video of his fatal altercation with police here.
(Read more Jeffrey Johnson stories.)

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