NEW YORK – A crew member working for “Law & Order: Organized Crime’’ was shot and killed at the TV show’s Brooklyn set early Tuesday, authorities said.
The victim was identified as 31- year-old Johnny Pizarro. He just began his shift about 5:15 a.m. and was sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle that was reserving a parking space on North Henry Street near Norman Avenue in Greenpoint. As he sat in the vehicle, a suspect suddenly opened the driver’s door and shot him multiple times, according to officials and friends who were aware of the circumstances, the New York Post reported.
“It was crazy,’’ said a distraught colleague of Pizarro who did not want to be identified. “I didn’t hear an argument or nothing. It was quiet, early morning. It was just a pop, and the [gunman] ran up towards Nassau [Avenue]. I only heard one bang, but I don’t know how many shots.
Janus Czuj, 60, is a local resident who thought the slaying scene was just another mock setup for filming.
“This morning I woke up and saw the police officers,” Czuj said. “I thought it was a fake crime scene.
“I didn’t think it was a real tragedy. … I tried to walk dogs here and saw the tape and thought, ‘Oh, it’s a movie.’ But this was a real shooting.”
The motive for the homicide remains unclear. Investigators said they are not ruling out anything, whether it was simply a parking dispute or something else.
Pizarro, who hails from Queens, suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the face and neck, according to authorities. The gunman fled on foot and has not been captured, the news outlet reported.
Pizarro was rushed to Woodhull Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead just before 6 a.m., police said.
According to parking notices posted at the scene, filming was to commence at 6 a.m.
NBC and Universal Television said in a statement, “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.”
Pizarro’s friend and co-worker said their job was to put up the fliers, cones and park the trucks, the New York Post reported.
“We’ve been doing this for five or six years,” he said. “We come 24 hours in advance to start clearing out the parking.
“We park in our trucks, and we wait for the stars to come out. The trucks have equipment for the TV shows and movie scenes.
“Sometimes we get hassled about parking, but we work with a lot of people in the communities,” the man said. “They talk with us, we talk with them. We see what time you want to leave, and depending on what time our trucks come, we let them park. There’s never too much hassle with the parking.”
The friend said Pizarro was married and had two daughters and a son who are now left behind.
“He was a great guy, always laughing or making somebody laugh, you know?” the co-worker said.