The man who shot and killed a former co-worker outside of the Empire State Building may have snapped when he found out that he was being evicted from his Upper East Side apartment, a police source told the New York Post.
Jeffrey Johnson is believed to have blamed Steve Ercolino for two years worth of financial trouble that he suffered from after being let go from Hazan imports, where he had worked for six years.
Johnson apparently blamed Ercolino for not pushing products that he had designed, but fellow Hazan employees told the Post that Johnson was laid off because, “business was bad.”
The pair had, had problems long before the shooting. Both men had filed complaints against each other following a dispute that they had in the building’s lobby.
“One said he threatened me and the other guy said ‘No, he threatened me.’ They made these complaints within 15 minutes of each other,” Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told 1010 WINS reporter Carol D’Auria.
A report filed by Ercolino may have foreshadowed Friday’s shooting.
“Ercolino filed a complaint saying he was threatened by Johnson and he possibly threatened to kill him,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
When Johnson was threatened with eviction it may have been the final straw. He had been living in a one-bedroom apartment on East 82nd Street and was no longer able to make rent.
Johnson ambushed and killed Ercolino on 33rd Street, near 5th Ave, just after 9 a.m. on Friday before he was killed by police.
Source: WCBS TV