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Woman Recalls Feeling Helpless As She Witnessed Her Friend’s Murder

Steve Ercolino (credit: Personal Photo)

Steve Ercolino (credit: Personal Photo)

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NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) Former coworkers of Jeffrey Johnson, the alleged perpetrator of  Friday’s shooting on West 33rd Street, near the Empire State Building, claimed that he had feuded with the victim, Steve Ercolino, in the past.

Irene Timan was with Ercolino when he was shot to death, she shared her account of the incident with CBS 2’s Dick Brennan.

“I feel bad because I couldn’t do anything. He was right there, right there. I froze,” she said.

Timan was walking into her building when she spotted Johnson lurking nearby.

“I said oh my god, that’s Jeff, he’s going to kill Steve. Before you knew it the gun was out and there was one shot,” she recalled.

The shooting did not end there.

“Steve didn’t go down with the first shot, and I turned my back, I saw him shoot him in the face and head,” Timan explained.

Timan said that coworkers often discussed Johnson, and said that he had problems.

“When he got laid off we all made jokes that we would not be surprised if he came back and lit up the whole office, he was not a well man,” she said.

Ercolino grew up in Rockland County, his family was devastated by news of his death.

“There was nothing anyone could do. It was sick, just sick,” said his brother Paul.

Coworkers told CBS 2 that Johnson and Ercolino had a volatile relationship, and that the two men were involved in a physical dispute in an elevator in 2011.

“They started having an argument, then they went into the elevator and I guess words were exchanged and Steve roughed him up a little bit,” said John Cardinale who works in the building.

Coworkers said that the elevator incident had been the only violent altercation between the two men prior to Friday’s shooting.

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