NEW YORK (WFAN) — The brother of Empire State Building shooting victim Steven Ercolino joined WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton on Monday morning to express his grief, and said Steven was just like many in the Tri-State area — a die-hard sports fan.
Paul Ercolino, who described his brother as a Jets fanatic, also railed against what he called “horrific journalism” in the wake of Steven’s death.
“The … headlines and the pictures that were in the New York Post and the New York Times that my family had to see and endure, to see those pictures that were the most horrific pictures,” a distraught Ercolino told Boomer and Carton. “They gave Osama bin Laden more respect and dignity than my brother, sprawled over the — with blood coming from him.
“So I would just make a plea to everyone who’s out there that are reading these stories: there’s a family behind, grieving and dying for one of their own right now. And we need all your support.”
LISTEN: Paul Ercolino with Boomer & Carton
Steven Ercolino was shot in the head by 58-year-old Jeffrey Johnson outside his workplace, Hazan Imports, on West 33rd Street Friday morning, police said. Johnson was then killed by police gunfire outside the Empire State Building.
“We’re sports fans, we grew up sports fans,” said Paul. “We use sports as a refuge, to get away from tragedy, never more than this. And I know if he was (here) this morning, he’d be calling me up screaming about how horrific the Jets are and how awful the Mets are.”
He said his brother was a fan of Esiason, a fellow left-hander, and had “swagger” befitting an athlete or movie star.
Paul, who talked sports with his brother “every day,” was moving his son into Syracuse University when he heard the tragic news.
“I got the news from my father that this had happened,” he told Boomer and Carton. “The most beautiful day of my life became the most horrific day.”
Paul said the last conversation he had with his brother came after a phone call to WFAN afternoon-drive host Mike Francesa.
“After I hung up the phone, I got a phone call from him,” said Paul. “He said, ‘You’re still talking about the stinkin’ Mets.’ ”
A wake for Steven Ercolino will be held Monday night and Tuesday. His funeral will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in White Plains.
“I just wanted to say (to) everyone,” Paul Ercolino said, “I appreciate the support and all the well-wishes.”
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