Though the fatal shooting of Steven Ercolino, 41, by Jeffrey Johnson outside of the Empire State Building was tragic in and of itself, the aftermath — and its cover-up quality — by the New York Police Department has left many people scrambling to exactly understand the events.
Nine people were wounded, including 3 shot and 6 struck by gun fragments. Initially, NYPD officers claimed that Johnson randomly opened fire and injured the passers-by.
In a press conference Friday, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that it was a possibility that cops did the shootings, but alluded to wide spread gun violence being the culprit:
“New York City, as you know, is the safest big city in the country, and we are on pace to have a record low number of murders this year,” Bloomberg said. “But we are not immune to the national problem of gun violence.”
Injured 23-year-old Robert Asika, who was shot in the arm, said that he was “100 percent positive” cops were the gunmen, and the NYPD has now confirmed that story.
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The officers unloaded 16 rounds in the shadow of the Empire State Building at a disgruntled former apparel designer, killing him after he engaged in a gunbattle with police, authorities said.
Three passersby sustained direct gunshot wounds, while the remaining six were hit by fragments, according to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. All injuries were caused by police, he said Saturday.
See news report below:
As previously reported by NewsOne, this comes approximately two weeks after NYPD officers shot 51-year-old Darrius Kennedy dead in the middle of Times Square after he allegedly refused to put down a large knife.
That incident was also captured on camera.
With this latest incident, many are wondering if NYPD officers are trigger-happy, or simply doing what is necessary to keep citizens safe in a critical situation.