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

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…