The owner of a suspected steroid mill in Bay Ridge was found dead in an office above his Third Avenue drugstore on Monday night, leaving a note that begged for forgiveness for his role in selling the illegal muscle-builders.
John Rossi, 56, co-owner of Lowen’s Pharmacy, had been shot once in his chest and once in his head. Next to his body was a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, a bottle of pills and a note saying, “Please forgive me,” the Daily News reported.
After an autopsy on Tuesday, the Medical Examiner ruled the death a suicide.
Rossi, a Staten Island resident, made headlines last year when Lowen’s was raided twice by authorities in an ongoing steroid investigation.
Nearly $8 million in illegal steroids and human growth hormone were seized in the raids, authorities said, though Rossi, listed simply as a “target” of the investigation, had not yet been charged in any crime.
He may have felt the dragnet was tightening.
Newsday reported this week that law enforcement officials were considering criminal charges against Rossi unless he cooperated with their ongoing probe of Lowen’s.
“Look, what else was this guy going to do?” one Lowen’s customer said on Tuesday. “If he lived and they went after him in court, they’d take the store, his house — everything. By doing this, at least his family can get it all.”
Another customer, Joan Lyle, was beside herself upon hearing of Rossi’s death.
“This is shocking,” said Lyle, who has lived in Bay Ridge since 1955. “You never hear things like this going on in Bay Ridge.”
Rossi’s daughter had just given birth to his grandson on the same day as the suicide.