Em­pire State Build­ing shooter went to Ge­or­gia high school

The Covington News - - The Second Front - JEFF GILL Spe­cial to The News

The man who killed a for­mer co­worker at the Em­pire State Build­ing in New York kept busy at Gainesville High School be­fore grad­u­at­ing in 1971.

Jef­frey Theodore John­son par­tic­i­pated in in­tra­mu­ral ath­let­ics, the Pep Club and was the as­sis­tant art ed­i­tor for the school news­pa­per, the “Trum­peter,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Mer­ri­anne Dyer said in a press re­lease.

The school’s en­roll­ment was about 900 then, so “most of the students there at this time knew one an­other,” she said.

Dyer added that school of­fi­cials “are told of a ten­ure in the U.S. Navy af­ter high school, but we have no in­di­ca­tion of ac­tive alumni sta­tus or of so­cial con­tacts from his high school years.

“The Gainesville community, like many, are shocked and sad­dened at this in­ci­dent.”

John­son, 58, shot his for­mer co­worker Steven Er­col­ino, out­side the Em­pire State Build­ing on Fri­day, set­ting off a chaotic show­down with po­lice in front of the land­mark.

Of­fi­cers killed the gun­man and at least nine oth­ers were wounded, some by stray po­lice gun­fire.

Gainesville Po­lice Cor­po­ral Kevin Hol­brook, spokesman for the depart­ment, con­firmed this morn­ing that po­lice no­ti­fied John­son’s next of kin on Fri­day, when the shoot­ing oc­curred.

“That was our sole in­volve­ment in the case,” Hol­brook said. “That’s about all we can say.” Memo­rial Park North Funeral Home at 989 Riverside Drive, Gainesville, is han­dling ar­range­ments for John­son. Of­fi­cials there said they didn’t know when the funeral home would re­ceive the body or when ser­vices would be held.

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