A Brooklyn filming location for a sensational TV crime show became a murder scene early Tuesday when a man was enforcing related parking restrictions, police say. to the producer was shot dead while he was sitting in his car, police said.
The murder occurred on North Henry Street near Norman Avenue in the Greenpoint neighborhood when a team working on the crime show, “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” was preparing to film on the property. , according to police and fliers posted there.
Police identified the victim as Johnny Pizarro, 31, of Queens.
Mr. Pizarro, whose job is to make sure the streets are clear so that vehicles involved in the program can park, were in his car when a lone attacker approached the vehicle, opened the door and shot him in the head and his neck, police said. Police said he was taken to Woodhull Hospital Center in Brooklyn, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said no arrests had been made and no motive was identified as of Tuesday afternoon. A short, thin man in a black hooded sweater and dark pants was running from the site of the shooting, police said.
The killing of a prominent industry man in a relatively safe area comes at a time of growing insecurity in some areas – although shootings and murders have down this year – New York City is becoming unsafe.
Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain who has been a crime fighter and continues to make public safety a priority, has at times helped foster that perception, for example, he said. that he had “never witnessed a crime of this level”. (Police data cuts down on that trait.)
Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Mr. Adams, said in a statement that law enforcement agencies will “work diligently to bring suspects to justice.”
“The safety of all New Yorkers is our top priority,” Mr. Levy said. “It is unacceptable to shoot a gun.”
Arriving at his home in Puerto Rico, Mr. Pizarro’s father, who shares the same name Johnny with his son, said he was “shocked” when his daughter called him about the murder.
“There were no words,” Mr. Pizarro said, describing how his son visited him two months ago when the men “tried to cement our relationship.”
“This is a tragedy,” he added.
“Law & Order: Organized Crime,” which airs on NBC and stars Christopher Meloni, is set in New York and inspired by crimes committed in the city.
The show is the latest iteration of the long-running crime-procedure series created by producer Dick Wolf. It is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, affiliated with Wolf Entertainment, and is filming a third season.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked to learn that one of our crew members was the victim of a crime early this morning and as a result died,” a spokesperson for NBC and Universal Television said. said in a statement. “We are working with local law enforcement as they continue to investigate.”
The compound where the murder took place is surrounded by large trees and mostly three-story houses that are inhabited by a mixture of longtime residents and newcomers. Msgr. McGolrick Park, a shady, dog-friendly oasis, is nearby. According to online listings, the monthly rent for some refurbished apartments ranges from $3,500 to $5,000.
According to police statistics, the area belongs to Subdivision 94, where serious crime is rare. There hasn’t been a single homicide on campus this year as of Sunday, nor has there been a homicide last year or in 2020, the data showed.
Janus Czuj, a 35-year neighborhood resident who lives near the scene of the shooting, said violent crime is actually rare in the area.
Mr Czuj, 60, said: ‘I walk here every night, adding that ‘never had a problem’ in the neighborhood and ‘never been this crazy’. .
He said his truck was parked on Monday night at the property where the murders took place and someone he believes to be Mr. Pizarro asked him to move it.
“I saw him yesterday,” Mr. Czuj said. He added: “He’s very energetic.”
Gabrielle Van den Berg, who lives across the street from the shooting, said her husband went out after hearing gunshots, then went back inside after seeing nothing out of the ordinary.
“It was really big,” Van den Berg said of the gunfire. “I’m pretty sure it was three gunshots.”
Products like the company Mr. Pizarro is working on contribute significantly to the economy of New York City. A study released by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment last August found that the film and television industry supports approximately 185,000 jobs, $18.1 billion in wages and $81.6 billion USD of total economic output in 2019.
Eighty TV series – a record number – were filmed in the city during the 2018-19 season, according to the research. And although the industry was shut down for several months in 2020 amid the early stages of the pandemic, it has already begun to recover. Officials say about 35 films are currently being filmed in five counties.
The frequent presence of film crews in certain neighborhoods can be a contentious issue for residents forced to give up their coveted parking spaces to make room for vehicles involved. manufacturing.
Film crews often post notices on light poles advising people about when they must move their cars and when to start filming. Workers affiliated with a manufacturing company, like Mr. Pizarro, then sit out all night to make sure the streets are empty.
In the case of “Law & Order: Organized Crime” production, the fliers indicated that cars would be removed from the area by 10 p.m. Monday and filming would begin. at 6 a.m. Tuesday – about an hour after Mr. Pizarro was killed.
The shooting brought production to a standstill for the day. Sometime after 4 p.m., police investigators finally left the area, as did a tractor-trailer pulling what is believed to be the vehicle Mr. Pizarro was in when he was shot.
Mr. Pizarro’s friends in Bushwick described him as a wise man who loved to have fun. They said he had aspired to work in the entertainment industry for a long time and was delighted to have finally achieved his goal.
Olivia Bensimon, Chelsia Rose Marcius and Anushka Patil contribution report. Kirsten Noyes Contributing research.