WARWICK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The death of Steven Ercolino at the hands of a disgruntled former co-worker has left his friends and loved ones with unimaginable grief. Those who knew him are shocked that his life was cut short so violently.
An unmarked police car moved away from the Orange County home of Frank and Rosalie Ercolino early Friday afternoon, hours after their son was murdered in the awful Midtown shooting incident that ended on the street near the Empire State Building.
The 41-year-old victim was described as a loving family man who visited his parents and was smitten by his 5-year-old nephew.
Friends and neighbors vainly tried to grapple with the awful news.
“It’s horrendous. It’s a horrendous situation. Where can you go to be safe?” neighbor Dorothy Long said.
“I feel for the family. It’s just happening so much these days that it’s becoming everyday life now. Somebody getting shot. Its horrible,” neighbor Mary Lake said.
“It’s the world we live in unfortunately,” neighbor Michael Johndroud added.
It was a world his parents hoped to get away from when they moved from Brooklyn. Ercolino, a sales vice-president, is survived by three siblings, his parents and his little nephew.
The Ercolino family offered no statement about the shooting and asked for privacy as they planned a funeral for a loving son.
Out of the nine bystanders who were caught in the crossfire, four of them were still receiving treatment for their wounds at Bellevue Hospital on the city’s East Side as of Friday evening.
The main entrance at Bellevue was surrounded by security all day. Inside, seven gunshot victims, including four men and three women, ranging in age from 20 to 43 are all expected to recover.
One young man who was shot amid the chaos emerged from the hospital on Friday with an arm in a sling. He described just how shaken he was.
“I was just scared when I saw the whole thing, very scared,” said Robert Asika, of the south Bronx.
Asika walked out of the hospital five hours after getting caught in a barrage of bullets outside the Empire State Building. He was getting ready to sell tickets to the building’s observation deck when the typical tourist bustle turned to violence.
“He reached in his suit and pulled out a gun,” Asika said.
He saw police confront 58-year-old Jeffrey Johnson and was hit in the subsequent rapid fire.
“Then I guess he shot at a police officer, and police officer shot him and one of them shot me in the arm and he fell,” Asika said. “I didn’t even know until I got to the end of the street and I saw the blood. So I just fell to the ground and crawled to the end of the street and just fell right there.”
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