Officers were called to the home on 2400 Wickham Ave in Pelham Gardens on Tuesday afternoon after reports of a robbery suspect wearing a uniform.
When officers went to the back of the home, they found the body of 91-year-old Nicholas Rappa. His hands were bound, he had trauma to the face and lacerations to his arm.
Authorities released surveillance images of the suspect - dressed in a traffic vest, pants with reflective strips and a hard hat - running to a white pickup truck.
The tight-knit community is now on edge as police ramp up their efforts to track the killer.
"If you wanted to rob him at 91-years-old, you could've tied him up and left him there somebody would have found him," neighbor Adele Farina said. "To beat him like that, absolutely unnecessary. I can't fathom what you have in your heart to do something like that."
The man police are looking for is believed to be in his 30s and was caught on nearby surveillance camera driving in the area.
The company name on the vehicle he was driving, Herc Rentals, is an equipment rental firm.
A spokesman for the company said in a statement, "We are cooperating with the NYPD as they continue their investigation into this tragic incident."
Meanwhile, community members say Rappa was a staple in the neighborhood and known as the mayor of the block.
"He always knew all the people, he always knew everyone literally stopped to talk to everyone," Farina said. "He knew every house."
Now they are holding onto those memories to get through this difficult time.
"Would laugh with us, talk with us and now he's gone," a neighbor said.
Anyone with information is asked to call police.
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