Tuesday, February 5, 2013
 

 

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Brooklyn man guilty of shooting three people, holding several hostages

NEW YORK – A man accused of taking patrons of a bar in the East Village hostage, shooting three people, dousing 15 people with kerosene and threatening to kill them was found guilty of several felonies, including. attempted murder, assault, kidnapping, and criminal possession of a weapon, as well as kidnapping in the second degree as a hate crime. Steve Johnson, 45, of Brooklyn, is expected to be sentenced on March 8.  He faces a lengthy prison term

“This was a hateful and meticulously planned attack on innocent victims,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., “The defendant terrorized a roomful of people, who showed tremendous courage during an extraordinarily harrowing ordeal. I thank the jury for its service in this case.”

On June 16, 2002, at approximately 2 a.m., Johnson armed himself with a loaded .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol, a .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol, a .22 caliber Derringer pistol, more than 100 rounds of ammunition, a sword, an expandable baton, a combustible accelerant, and two barbeque lighters. The defendant approached a group of four people on the street near East 11th Street and Second Avenue and shot a man in the stomach. He also grabbed a woman standing nearby and attempted to drag her away at gunpoint, but she was able to escape.

The injured man staggered into a nearby bar on Second Avenue. Johnson followed him in, shot him a second time in the back, and ordered the patrons to the rear of the room. He forced one woman to tie up 14 other individuals, and then doused them with an accelerant. While shouting racial epithets, the defendant threatened to light his hostages on fire and stated, in substance, that it was a good day to die.

Johnson was also found guilty of shooting a nearby restaurant owner who came to investigate after hearing what he believed to be gunshots. When NYPD officers responded to reports of shots fired, Johnson fired multiple shots at them while using one of the victims inside the bar as a human shield. The standoff in the bar lasted nearly 45 minutes before two of the female patrons were able to tackle Johnson. When they did, he shot one of them in the leg. Members of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit were then able to enter the bar, subdue Johnson, and apprehend him. In total, three people were shot and several others suffered chemical burns. Incredibly, all involved survived.