Wounded Man Found At Fire Scene

DSC_1838Meredith Hoffman

According to the Fire Department, firefighters called to an alert at 362 East Tenth Street (reported earlier) discovered a male in a bathtub with gunshot wounds. He was taken to Beth Israel Hospital but there is no further report on his condition.

The fire alert had caused firefighters and police to close down most of the block between Avenue B and Avenue C.

The owner of the building, Irwin (who declined to give his last name), told The Local that the man in the apartment was Mike Zecchino, a man in his sixties, who had been living in the building since before Irwin bought it seventeen years ago. A police detective who did not give his name said the situation seemed to be that the man had shot himself.

Irwin described Mr. Zecchino as “an intelligent man,” saying he “drank a lot of wine and smoked Pall Mall cigarettes,” adding that he “has a daughter.”

Damaris Reyes, Executive Director of the GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) community organization, who was at the scene to speak with police, said she knew Mr. Zecchino from working with him. “He organized neighborhood campaigns with GOLES” said Ms. Reyes. “He’s a good guy.”

Henock Shibeshi, 22, another resident, told The Local that Mr. Zecchino “doesn’t let anyone go into the apartment, he’s pretty confined.” Mr. Shibeshi, who was the first to respond to the smell of smoke, said that when he leaned out to the back fire escape of his apartment he saw “flames coming out from inside” Mr. Zecchino’s window. He called 911 and went to knock on all his neighbors’ doors, including that of Jason Goodrow who was in his bathroom at the time.

“I smelled something and my two-year-old started knocking on the door of the bathroom, and then the neighbor pounded on the door,” said Mr. Goodrow, who then said he saw Mr. Zecchino carried out of the building on a stretcher. “He didn’t look too good.” Mr. Shibeshi also saw Mr. Zecchino on the stretcher, and said he looked “unconscious.”

The scene was blocked off for over an hour, and when shivering residents finally re-entered their homes, many discovered significant water damage. “Everything’s covered in water in my living room,” said Bryce Wisell, a resident who was one of the first allowed in the building to take his two cats to safety. “We’re not sleeping there tonight.”