Updated 08/25/2012 09:41 AM
Two dead following shooting outside Empire State Building
A man with a grudge guns down a former boss on a busy New York City street and others are caught in the crossfire of his showdown with police. YNN's Zack Fink has more.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
NEW YORK CITY -- It was a chaotic scene on a normally-routine August morning. Just after 9 a.m., gunfire explodes on Fifth Avenue, sending workers and tourists ducking for cover.
"We heard shots, pah! Pah! And then we heard another four - pah, pah, pah... so we were like, oh shoot... it's gunshots."
Authorities say the gunman was 58-year-old Jeffrey Johnson. His victim: a former boss at Hazan Imports, a women's apparel company on West 33rd street.
Johnson was laid off about a year ago. Commissioner Ray Kelly says his apparent motive was revenge.
"At 9:03 this morning, in front of 10 West 33rd St., a disgruntled former employee of a company at that address shot and killed a former coworker, striking him three times,” said Kelly.
Steven Ercolino was 41, a vice-president at Hazan. A coworker who was walking with him reportedly said she saw the gunman step from behind a white van and open fire without saying a word.
Authorities say Johnson walked away, up Fifth Avenue, but a construction worker alerted two police officers on security duty outside the Empire State Building. They gave chase. Gunfire was exchanged at 34th street, and Johnson was killed. Nine bystanders were wounded in the shootout.
"When I walked across the street, I saw a woman had been shot in the foot and she was just in shock sitting there. And then I looked halfway down, right across where you go into the building and there was a man lying on the ground, face down," said one eyewitness.
"Some may have been shot accidentally by police officers who responded immediately and while confronting the suspect and fatally shooting him, unfortunately, there may have been other victims as well,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
None of the bystanders' injuries were life-threatening.
Cops say the weapon Johnson used was a 45-caliber handgun. They're still looking into how and where he got it.