Life imitated art on a Brooklyn street Tuesday morning when a gunman executed a 31-year-old man who was apparently enforcing a no-parking zone for an upcoming “Law & Order: Organized Crime” shoot, it was reported.
Police said the deadly shooting happened at about 5:23 a.m. on July 19 in front of an apartment house on North Henry Street off Norman Avenue in Greenpoint.
According to WABC-TV, the victim — Johnny Pizarro, 31, a production assistant from Palmetto Street in Ridgewood, Queens — was gunned down while holding parking spots on North Henry Street in preparation for filming of the popular NBC crime drama franchise known for stories “ripped from the headlines.”
A police source familiar with the case said the victim was enforcing no-parking regulations on the block in advance of filming.
Officers from the 94th Precinct, in responding to reports of the shooting, found Pizarro shot in the face and neck.
Following a preliminary investigation, authorities said, detectives determined that Pizarro had been sitting inside a parked vehicle when the unidentified shooter walked up, opened the driver’s side door to the vehicle and began firing.
The motive for the shooting remains unknown and under investigation, police sources said. It’s believed that Pizarro was the shooter’s intended target, a source familiar with the case said.
EMS rushed Pizarro to Woodhull Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Detectives are continuing to seek the shooter, who was described as a man with a medium complexion and a thin build, standing about 5 feet, 4 inches tall, who wore a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants.
Throughout the day Tuesday, real-life detectives canvassed North Henry Street, looking for evidence and possible witnesses to the murder.
One neighborhood resident said local drivers constantly have beefs with film and television production companies that frequent the area and wind up closing off blocks to park vehicles and related equipment.
“It is a battle between production companies and trying to find parking,” the resident said. “They put up signs all the time, the production companies put them up all the time. I am upset that this happened to a production assistant.”
NBC and Universal Television released a statement Tuesday mourning the lost crew member: “We were terribly saddened and shocked to hear that one of our crew members was the victim of a crime early this morning and has died as a result. We are working with local law enforcement as they continue to investigate. Our hearts go out to his family and friends, and we ask that you respect their privacy during this time.”
Anyone with information regarding the homicide can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.
With reporting by Lloyd Mitchell
Updated on July 19 at 1:50 p.m.