Samuel Maull, AP, March 22, 2007
A judge sentenced a man to 240 years in prison Wednesday for taking hostages in a bar and telling patrons that “white people are going to burn tonight.”
State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley told Steven Johnson, 39, who is black, that he had forfeited his “right to live in society.”
Johnson invaded Bar Veloce, in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood, while nine men and six women were inside it June 16, 2002. He was carrying three pistols, a samurai sword and a container of kerosene.
He told police he had left the Brooklyn housing project where he lived and taken the subway to go look for “happy” white people to avenge the mistreatment of blacks.
He shot and wounded three people, including a police officer, and sprayed kerosene on several customers and threatened to set them on fire. Two women caught Johnson off guard and tackled him, and a policeman shot him.