Four dead in Upper West Side shooting

December 17, 2009 8:29:19 PM PST
Three family members were fatally shot in an Upper West Side apartment Thursday before the killer fell to his death in an alley behind the building.The three victims, a man, his father-in-law and his son, were gunned down inside the apartment on Amsterdam Avenue, near 84th Street, just after 1:50 p.m.

Police say the shooter, identified as 44-year-old Hector Quinones, then fell off a fire escape to his death trying to flee the scene. Police suspect the shootings were drug-related and say they found a large stash of heroin inside the apartment.

Authorities say 52-year-old Carlos Rodriguez, Sr., and 24-year-old Carlos Rodriguez, Jr., were found in a bedroom. Fernando Gonzalez, 87, was found in the bathroom. Police recovered a semiautomatic handgun in the third-floor apartment in the rear of the walk-up building.

The elder Carlos Rodriguez's wife and daughter came home with the alleged killer still inside. They were both reportedly pistol-whipped before the daughter, Lyanis Rodriguez, managed to lock herself in the bathroom with her father's and brother's bodies while Quinones allegedly demanded money and drugs.

Giselle Rodriguez, who is the mother of the 24-year-old victim, managed to escape. She reportedly ran through a nearby assisted living home, screaming to witnesses about the shooting. She was taken to a nearby hospital.

Sources say Quinones knew his victims from prison, from which he had recently been released. Carlos Rodriguez, Sr., has reportedly served several convitions for drug possesion.

No arrests have been made.

The building is on a busy commercial strip in a tree-lined residential neighborhood a few blocks from Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History.

The shootings rattled the upscale neighborhood, as pizzeria owners and priests watched the wounded woman wheeled into an ambulance.

Police had the entrance to the building and part of the block cordoned off. Scores of onlookers crowded the sidewalks, and dozens of police cars lined Amsterdam Avenue.

This is a great, yuppified neighborhood," said Gene Silvers, who was pumping air into his bicycle tires across the street from the shootings. "Not dangerous."

Hispanic neighbors planned a Spanish-only prayer service for the victims later Thursday.

Hector O'Neal, who said he was the family's landlord, said police had asked him not to speak about "la familia familia Rodriguez." "I can't talk to anybody right now," he said.

Dimitrios Vezyrakis said the family were "nice people, just normal people who came in for pizza" across the street.

Darryl Gamble, who owns a women's clothing boutique on the ground floor, said he heard no commotion coming from the apartments.

"I think that most of the tenants have been there for years," Gamble said. He said he had no problems with his neighbors, outside of "the usual, New York noise, a few leaks."