Steven Ercolino 'loved life,' family says

Steve Ercolino, 41, killed by a former co-worker

Steve Ercolino, 41, killed by a former co-worker in the shooting outside the Empire State Building on Friday, was vice president of sales for Hazan Import Corp. He grew up in Warwick. (Credit: Myspace)

Steven Ercolino was remembered Friday as a loving son, brother and uncle whose interest in fashion began as a child and drove him to a successful career in the women's accessory industry.

He grew up in Warwick, Orange County, as the second of four children. He was passionate about sports since he was young, and also developed a love for fashion through his father, Frank, who worked in the garment industry.

Ercolino, 41, shared his pastimes with his nephew Vincent, to whom he was godfather, and niece Sofia, 12.


MULTIMEDIA: NYPD releases video of shooting (warning: graphic content) | Latest photos from the scene 


"He would come home with a new handbag that he knew was going to be the style, and she'd have it first," Steven's brother, Paul Ercolino, of West Nyack, Rockland County, said.

Just two weeks ago, generations of the Ercolino family had a sleepover in Warwick, as if they were all young again, Paul Ercolino, 46, said. Steven slept in the camper in his sister's backyard before heading back to the city he loved, the only kid in the family who preferred the concrete jungle over country living.

Paul Ercolino said his brother, a sales executive at Hazan Import, had two sides to him -- an executive in stylish suits, who'd jump from a West Coast red-eye flight and dash to work at his Manhattan office, and the athletic traveler who embraced exotic places and active excursions around the globe.

"He really loved life," Paul Ercolino said. "I envied the way he lived. He soaked up every minute of it. He would just do it. He didn't have anything that would hold him back. He was a very spur-of-the-moment type of person."

The two brothers played off each other over their almost "rabid" love of football and baseball, especially the Mets, Paul Ercolino said. "We didn't see each other that often," he said, "but when we're together, it was like we were back to being kids around the house."

Not long ago, Paul Ercolino called up a radio sports show to comment on the Mets and his sibling heard it. Steven called his brother and joked, "You're still watching the stinkin' Mets?" Ercolino recalled.

It was the last time Paul heard his brother's voice.

Ercolino's father, Frank, said only that he "was a loving son and he will be missed."

Ercolino graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 1992 with a degree in business, and went on to work for several apparel and women's accessory companies, including Manhattan-based Jump Apparel and Newark-based The Betesh Group, his profile on LinkedIn.com said.

Officials at SUNY Oneonta said in a statement Friday that they were "saddened to learn that a member of the alumni community was a victim of this tragic and senseless killing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve's family."

Among the other victims of the shooting was Robert Asika, 23, of the Bronx, who works selling tickets for the Empire State Building observation deck.

Asika said he was on his way to work when he "saw everybody running" and the confrontation between police and a man. Moments later, he was struck in the left elbow by a bullet, which he assumes came from a police officer's gun.

Asika was released Friday afternoon from Bellevue Hospital, but said he was still hurting in "every part of my body."

"When I woke up this morning, something told me not to go to work," Asika said. "But then I said 'It's a job, just go.' "

Auselis Rosario, 43, of Brooklyn said her sister-in-law Madia Rosario, also 43, of Brooklyn was shot.

With Joseph Mallia, Ann Givens and Kery Murakami

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