New York City Gunman Purchased Weapon Legally in Florida, Police Say
Police say a Jeffrey Johnson, a laid-off worker who fatally shot a vice president from his former company outside the Empire State Building on Friday, purchased the weapon legally in Florida in 1991.
Pictures: Shooting near Empire State Building
Johnson legally bought the .45 caliber pistol in Sarasota, Fla., but he didn’t have a required permit to possess the weapon in New York City, police said.
Wearing a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase, Johnson walked up to the vice president of Hazan Imports, Steven Ercolino, 41, put a gun to his head and fired three times without saying a word, according to authorities and witnesses.
“Jeffrey just came from behind two cars, pulled out his gun, put it up to Steve’s head and shot him,” said Carol Timan, whose daughter, Irene, was walking to work with Ercolino.
Johnson, 58, and Ercolino had traded accusations of harassment when Johnson worked there, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said; law enforcement officials said that Johnson had been angry that Ercolino wasn’t promoting his products.
“New York City, as you know, is the safest big city in the country, and we are on pace to have a record low number of murders this year,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference Friday. “But we are not immune to the national problem of gun violence,” he said about the shooting, which comes in the wake of mass shootings inside a Colorado movie theater and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.