Photo: NBC Via Gothamist
The mother of the man accused of killing an ex-coworker outside the Empire State Building said her son’s life had “diminished tenfold” since his beloved cat Romeo died.The cat died earlier this year from a rare form of cancer, leaving gunman Jeffrey Johnson bereft.
Speaking to The New York Times in an interview published Monday, Johnson’s mum said she has replayed in her head her son’s life, trying to figure out how things got to this point.
Ms. Johnson, who asked the Times not to use her first name, said her son, who suffered a severe head trauma as a child and also served in the Coast Guard, wanted to be killed.
“I believe that he turned and pointed the gun at them to make sure that they would shoot him and he would die,” she told the Times.
She hasn’t seen her son in more than 20 years, Ms. Johnson said, adding that she and her husband learned about the shooting the same way as everyone else — through the media.
“I know there are a lot of Jeffrey Johnsons in the world and a lot of Jeffrey Johnsons in New York City, but when they said the company he used to work for, I just went to pieces,” Ms. Johnson told the Times.
Ultimately, Ms. Johnson doesn’t blame police for shooting her son to death after he killed former co-worker Steven Ercolino.
“I don’t blame police in New York for shooting my son because he killed somebody, but for me, he hasn’t changed,” Ms. Johnson told the Times. “He’s still the kindhearted, caring person who loved all kinds of animals and I’m sure he loved us. You know a mother always tries to look for the best in you.”
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