At 5:15 am on Tuesday morning in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, Johnny Pizarro was working on the crew of “Law & Order: Organized Crime.” Pizarro, who was part of set security and parking enforcement, was approached by a suspect who opened his car door and fatally shot him. In the wake of Pizarro’s killing, Variety spoke to several friends and community members near the scene of the crime, many of whom were shaken by this sudden outburst of violence.
Cisco, a coworker of Pizarro who said he’s known him since college, was shocked by the incident. He said Pizarro was dedicated to the six children that he was raising in Ridgewood, Queens.
“He was a good guy, not a troublemaker,” Cisco said. “This is the safest neighborhood out of all the five boroughs. New York City is unpredictable.”
Although production was cancelled for the day and pedestrians were kept away from the scene of the crime, several people who said they were part of Pizarro’s inner circle stayed nearby, shocked as to how a crime like this could take place in their neighborhood and speculating about the motive.
While police officers moved in and out of the scene, in which Pizarro’s still-running car was surrounded by caution tape, many bystanders, who did not want to use their names out of fear of retaliation, were critical of the investigation.
“They wanna know what’s going on? We wanna know what’s going on!” one said, with another offering, “These cops are assholes, man.”
As with any neighborhood incident, speaking with locals brought up many unsubstantiated rumors as to the motive of the shooter and the issues that could have sparked the violence.
Many locals noted that they had thought of their neighborhood as peaceful, even idyllic in an urban kind of way, before the murder. However, one local business owner said he is disappointed that he set up shop in a part of town in which he now has to reconsider his safety.
In order to help heal some of the anxiety from the day, Church of Christ at Greenpoint, a congregation located a few doors down from the shooting, opened for the day for counseling and prayer.
By late Tuesday afternoon, passers-by had begun leaving candles at the site in memory of Pizarro.
This sliver of Greenpoint has made frequent appearances in movies and shows. In addition to “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” neighbors also recall recent productions such as “FBI,” “FBI: Most Wanted,” “FBI: International” and “Blue Bloods” filming nearby.
A community member, who asked to remain anonymous, said that crews would sometimes wear out their welcome with locals by taking up neighborhood parking spots for days at a time.
One “Law & Order: Organized Crime” crew member, who also wished to remain anonymous, said, “No one has dealt with this. It’s devastating.”
Fabien Levy, press secretary for New York City Mayor Eric Adams, shared a statement with Variety about the incident.
“The safety of all New Yorkers is our top priority. No shooting is acceptable, which is why we are working every day to get illegal guns off New York City streets,” the statement read. “The NYPD is actively investigating the fatal shooting of a crew member of ‘Law and Order: Organized Crime’ early this morning. We offer our deepest condolences to the victim’s family, friends, and coworkers during this difficult time, and will work diligently to bring the suspect to justice and stem the tide of gun violence we are seeing.”
Additional photos taken by Variety at the scene are below.
Additional reporting by Jordan Moreau and Jazz Tangcay.