Mother of Empire State Building shooter Jeffrey Johnson says son was ‘kindhearted’

Bystanders look on as police secure the scene following the shooting outside the Empire State Building.

The mother of the man behind the fatal shooting at the Empire State Building on Friday said she does not blame police for shooting and killing her son, but she still thinks of him as a “kindhearted, caring person.”

The gunman, identified by police as Jeffrey Johnson, confronted former co-worker Steven Ercolino outside the Empire State Building and shot him at close range in the head, killing him. Johnson was then shot and killed by police after he turned his gun on them, a move his mother believed was strategic so the officers would shoot and kill him. Nine other people were injured in the crossfire.

He had lost his job as a designer for Hazan Imports, located within the building, about a year ago, and his mother said he blamed Ercolino, a salesman, for not selling enough of the line he designed. She found out about her son’s actions and his death by watching the news.

“I know there are a lot of Jeffrey Johnsons in the world, and a lot of Jeffrey Johnsons in New York City, but when they said the company he used to work for, I just went to pieces,” his mother told The New York Times.

She asked The Times to withhold her first name and hometown in Georgia to protect her privacy. Ms. Johnson, who is in her 80s, said she racked her brain trying to figure out what caused her son’s violent behavior. She considered a childhood car accident that caused him brain trauma, his marksmanship training for the Coast Guard, even the recent death of his beloved pet. She said Johnson wrote in a letter that “life has been diminished tenfold” since the death of his cat Romeo.

Johnson attended the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. He then joined the Coast Guard and got married, but he and his wife divorced four years later. That was more than thirty years ago, his mother said. He moved to NYC about 10 years ago. His mother had not seen him for 22 years, but they spoke over the phone every Sunday, she said. She had not heard from him, though, since April 6 when he called to wish her a happy birthday.

“I don’t blame police in New York for shooting my son, because he killed somebody, —but for me, he hasn’t changed,” she said. “He’s still the kindhearted, caring person who loved all kinds of animals and I’m sure he loved us. You know a mother always tries to look for the best in you.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…