The laid-off designer who shot and killed his former co-worker outside the Empire State Building before he was gunned down by police was being forced to leave his Upper East Side apartment.
A law enforcement official told NBC 4 New York that Jeffrey Johnson had recently been asked to vacate the apartment he was subletting because the owner wanted to do renovations.
The official said Johnson had just a few weeks left till he had to leave, and the added pressure may have helped put him over the edge.
Police believe the shooter, Jeffrey Johnson, spent two years blaming Steven Ercolino for losing his job as a designer at Hazan Import, a woman’s clothing company.
Sources told NBC 4 New York that Johnson felt Ercolino, a salesman at the company, had not done enough to help the business, causing Johnson to be laid off.
The two men were already on poor terms before Johnson lost his job.
“Johnson filed a complaint against Ercolino saying he had a confrontation with him in the lobby of the building,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Saturday. “Ercolino filed a complaint saying he was threatened by Johnson and he possibly threatened to kill him.”
On Friday Johnson exacted his revenge on Ercolino, shooting him five times outside the Hazan Import office on West 33rd Street.
Johnson then calmly turned the corner to Fifth Avenue and drew his gun on a pair of NYPD cops, who fired 16 times, killing him and wounding nine pedestrians with bullets and ricochet fragments.
The three victims directly struck remained hospitalized Sunday.
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