NEW YORK—Steve Johnson, 45, was sentenced to 240 years in prison for taking people in a bar hostage, shooting three people, and dousing 14 people with kerosene and threatening to kill them.
The bizarre series of events, described by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, took place more than one decade ago in the early hours of June 16, 2002, starting at about 2 a.m. in East Village near a bar. Johnson began the escapade by approaching a group of four people near East 11th Street and Second Avenue, shooting one of them in the stomach. He followed the injured man into a nearby bar, shot him again, and held everyone in the bar hostage.
Later, Johnson shot at New York Police Department officers who responded to reports of shots fired, using one of the victims as a human shield. The ordeal ended about 45 minutes later when two female patrons tackled Johnson, during which he shot one of them in the leg. Everybody involved survived, though some with wounds.
“The 15 victims in this case have had to endure years of psychological terror as a result of being held captive, doused with kerosene, and, in some instances, shot by the defendant for nearly an hour,” said New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance in a March 8 press release. “This case is about perseverance—the perseverance of the victims who survived a horrific ordeal and displayed remarkable presence of mind under extreme pressure, and the perseverance of prosecutors who ensured that justice was served more than a decade later.”
During the trial, it was proven that Johnson had a host of weapons, such as a .22-caliber Derringer pistol, more than 100 rounds of ammunition, a sword, and 2 barbeque lighters.