A man who was helping out on the set of the popular crime drama Law and Order was gunned down “execution style,” in his car. Ironically, the episode being filmed was for the series “Law and Order: Organized Crime.”
The real-world NYPD is now frantically looking for the killer. The murder happened in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn around 5 a.m. on Tuesday, July 19.
Johnny Pizarro, a 31-year-old married dad of three, was killed in a way that could have been pulled right out of the script for the show he was crewing.
Pizarro had just started his shift and was sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2008 red Honda Civic that was saving a parking space for production vehicles in Greenpoint around 5:15 a.m. when another man suddenly opened the driver’s door and blasted him, officials and other crewmembers said.
The suspect fled on foot after the murder and is still in the wind, authorities said. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie and black pants, cops said.
“It was crazy,’’ said a distraught colleague of Pizarro, who was saving the spot on North Henry Street near Norman Avenue for the film crews’ trucks to use later.
“I didn’t hear an argument or nothing. It was quiet, early morning,’’ said the colleague, who asked not to be named. “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.
“I don’t even know who would do this or why.’’
Local resident Janus Czuj, 60, said he thought the slay scene was just for the cameras.
“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 killing was unclear, but cops said they are not ruling out anything — including whether it may have stemmed from a parking dispute.
Some sources claim that Pizarro had a “minor criminal history,” but it’s unknown if that played a role in his killing.
“Law and Order: Organized Crime” is the latest version of the long-running NBC franchise. It stars Christopher Meloni, who reprised his role as Det. Elliot Stabler from “Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit.”
It’s unclear if Meloni was on set when the murder happened.
Law and Order and other NY-based crime dramas are known to use locations in this area often. A flyer taped to a lamp pole on the street was titled “Stop Film Shoots Around McGolrick Park” and urged residents to complain to their local lawmakers about “how the filming of our neighborhood is displacing your family.
“The area around McGolrick Park has had a WEEKLY film shoot for MONTHS taking away DOZENS of blocks for PARKING and displacing THOUSANDS of Greenpoint residents while over 600 parking spots were recently REMOVED underneath the BQE for the construction of a bike lane that no one uses,” the flyer rages.
Local Joe Pedicino, 65, said CBS TV’s “Blue Bloods” and “FBI” have also been filmed on the street in the past six months.
“We’re getting killed with film shoots,” Pedicino said.
“Some of the neighbors were really pissed off; there’s not enough parking. [The film crews] take up so much space, and they don’t even use it all.”
That day’s filming had been scheduled to start on the set at 6 a.m., according to a notice at the scene.
The show was filming for its upcoming season, which was set to premiere on Sept. 22.
NBC and Universal Television, which produce the TV crime series, 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.”
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