NYPD Gunshots Hit All 9 People Injured in Empire State Building Shooting
All nine people injured in Friday morning’s deadly shooting incident involving a disgruntled former fashion designer and New York police officers were hit by bullets or fragments from NYPD fire.
ABC News reports that the nine innocent bystanders were struck as a result of police gunfire. None of the injuries were life-threatening. As of Saturday, two victims remained hospitalized, while a third is being held for monitoring of a blood pressure condition.
According to the NYPD, 58-year-old Jeffrey Johnson, who was laid off from his job as a fashion designer at Hazan Import last year, shot former co-worker Steven Ercolino, 41, with a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol before straddling his body and firing more bullets into him.
Two NYPD officers caught up with Johnson about half a block away. The suspect pointed his gun at the officers from a distance of about eight feet away but did not shoot. The officers opened fire, shooting sixteen rounds between them. The suspect was hit 10 times and killed.
Innocent bystanders caught in the middle found themselves dodging a hail of bullets.
“I heard multiple gunshots, I’d say about 12 of them,” eyewitness George King told ABC News. “I thought they were firecrackers, at first. I didn’t know what was going on. Everyone started running for cover along with me. The girl that was running next to me fell down to the pavement and, when I looked at her, I could see she had been hit in the leg. She was bleeding from the leg.”
“I noticed about five people who had been struck on the sidewalk or the street,” King added.
Johnson’s tenure at Hazan Import reportedly ended over a dispute with Ercolino, the firm’s account executive. CNN reports that after Johnson was terminated due to downsizing. He would regularly return to the company, where he had “a confrontation with Ercolino virtually every time he went back,” according to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Both men filed harassment complaints against each other last year.