Yesterday, two people were killed and nine others were injured after a disgruntled ex-employee killed his former boss near the Empire State Building. Shooter Jeffrey Johnson, 58, used a .45-caliber handgun to kill Steve Ercolino, 41, his former boss at Hazan Imports, outside the company offices at 10 W. 33rd Street just after 9 a.m. A more complete picture is now emerging about Johnson, whom neighbors and former co-workers describe as a friendless, mellow, "neat freak" loner who held a grudge against Ercolino.

The super of Johnson's six-story walk up on East 82nd Street, where he lived for about 18 months, told the Times Johnson had a routine he stuck to every day, which included always wearing a tannish brown suit and taking a morning trip to McDonald's: "This guy was very mellow," Guillermo Suarez told HuffPo. "Very mellow and very lonely."

Neighbor Gisela Casella, who lived upstairs from Johnson, told CBS he was "the nicest guy," and she couldn't believe what happened: “He would always wear nice suits, beige, tie, so I said to myself ‘Boy he must have some job,’ maybe works in a bank. He’s a big shot,” she said. “I knew he was a little weird because he was a neat freak, put [his] name very neatly by the door." Casella also told the News that she never saw him on a date: “He never had a girlfriend. I used to think he deserved a nice girlfriend.”

The Times reports that Johnson attended Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., from 1978 to 1980, leaving a year shy of the three years required for a certificate. Co-workers told them that he spoke cryptically of past military service; he told a former landlord, Kathleen Walsh, that he was a sharpshooter.

He also owned his own T-shirt design company called St. Jolly T-Shirt Co., with lots of drawings of women and motorcycles. He set up the website last October, after he had been fired. You can see two videos from his Youtube channel below:

According to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Johnson had worked at Hazan Import as a women's apparel designer for six years: "During a downsizing at the company about a year ago, Johnson was laid off." Kelly added that Johnson and Ercolino were involved in an "ongoing dispute"—they were cross complainants in a harassment case. The NY Times said that they had at least one physical altercation in the office, which led to Ercolino getting an order of protection against Johnson.

NBC sheds more light on their animosity: according to a police report, Johnson confronted Ercolino inside an elevator at their office and told him, "I am going to kill you." Law enforcement sources told them that Johnson blamed Ercolino for not pushing his line of products at Hazan enough, leading to poor sales. "I know there was animosity between them," said Nicholas D'Aurizio, who began working at Hazan after Johnson had left. "I know they had a not so great past. But nothing that would ever make you believe that something like this would happen."

“This guy was very eccentric,” one co-worker told the Times about Johnson. “He was so detail-oriented. If he had a free minute, he would start doing origami. The things that came out of his mind were so original and creative, you knew that his mind didn’t work the same way as normal people. But you worked with the guy so long, that you just chalked it up to Jeff being Jeff.”


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Multiple People Shot, Two Dead, Outside Empire State Building
Bloomberg, Kelly Identify ESB Shooter As Disgruntled Former Women's Apparel Employee
Here's What We Know So Far About The ESB Shooter And Victim
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