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Man Convicted Of Shooting Wine Bar Patrons, Dousing Them With Kerosene

Gavel (credit: CBS 2)

Gavel (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 45-year-old man was convicted Monday of shooting three people and dousing numerous others with kerosene, during a hostage ordeal at a wine bar in the East Village nearly 11 years ago.

Steve Johnson was found guilty Monday of attempted murder, assault, and kidnapping as a hate crime, among other charges. He was set to be sentenced March 8.

Published reports said on June 16, 2002, Johnson invaded Bar Veloce at 175 Second Ave. Nine men and six women were inside at the time.

He was carrying three pistols, a samurai sword and a container of kerosene.

He later told police he had left the Brooklyn housing project where he lived and took the subway to the East Village, where he looked for “happy” white people to avenge the mistreatment of black people.

Johnson reportedly yelled, “White people are going to burn tonight” as he shot and wounded three people and sprayed kerosene on several customers while threatening to set them on fire, according to a New York Times account at the time.

Two women caught Johnson off guard and tackled him, and a police officer shot him.

It was Johnson’s third trial. The first trial deadlocked. The second trial resulted in a conviction, but was overturned on appeal on a technicality.

During the second trial, Johnson’s lawyer and asked the judge to consider his client’s mental disorders and the fact that he had been a sexually abused child.

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