NEW YORK -- A "Law & Order" set became a real-life crime scene Tuesday in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Police say 31-year-old Johnny Pizzaro was sitting in his car on North Henry Street at around 5 a.m., guarding the NBC production trucks when someone walked up, opened the door, and shot him in the face and neck. The victim was pronounced dead at Woodhull Hospital, CBS2's Jessica Moore reported.
"Early morning, quiet. Just a pop, and a dude ran," one man said.
He told Moore he worked with Pizzaro, putting up "No Parking" fliers and cones along the block where the show "Law & Order: Organized Crime" would be filming later in the morning. He told CBS2 Pizzaro had a wife and six kids.
"He was a great guy, great guy," the man said.
Alexander Gurevich, who works nearby, said tensions are high between residents and film crews, who frequently tell people they can't park on their own block.
"Seems the scenario is 'SVU' just takes up the whole block. They park their trailers left and up and right," Gurevich said.
Gurevich said he wouldn't be surprised if the crew member was shot over the parking debacle.
"When the studios take up the whole block, you know, people are going to snap," he said.
Police have not confirmed the parking dispute was a motive for the killing. They said they are investigating a possible connection, but Pizzaro could have been targeted for some other reason, especially since the shooter didn't take anything from the victim, and, according to police, clearly wanted him dead.
Police said the gunman was wearing all black and took off on foot after the shooting.
NBC and Universal Television shared the following statement with CBS2:
"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."
CBS2's Nick Caloway spoke with neighbors on the quiet block, who said they heard at least one gunshot.
"I mean, this is crazy. This is insane," one woman said. "We didn't really even suspect it was gunshots, so we just went back to sleep... Later on, we woke up, and just cops everywhere."
Neighbors said it's a popular spot for productions, especially cop shows.
"They always shoot location around here. 'Law & Order,' 'NYPD Blue,' whatever," the woman added.
They never thought a show about crime would turn into a real-life crime scene.
"No, for real? That's what my daughter said. She said, 'Mom, there was a shooting.' I said, 'No, it's a film.' She said, 'OK, everything's OK?' 'As far as I know,' but I guess it's not," said Betty Gifford.
Pizzaro lived in Queens with his wife and children.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.
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