Man arrested in connection with fatal shooting of pizzeria owner in Brooklyn

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Josh Einiger has the story.

One person is in custody in connection with the killing of a Brooklyn pizza shop owner in June.

Investigators said Louis Barbati, owner of L&B Spumoni Gardens, drove his white 2015 Mercedes Benz home on his usual route, parked on the street in Dyker Heights and was walking to his backyard when he was shot at least five times by a person waiting for him. He was struck in the back, arm and leg.

Authorities say Andres Fernandez was taken into custody by federal agents as part of the ongoing investigation and will be arraigned in federal court in downtown Brooklyn.

The investigation is continuing.

Barbati was carrying a paper bag filled with about $15,000 cash from the restaurant, as well as some groceries for his wife, according to police. His wife told detectives he only brings that much money home about a half dozen times a year.

Investigators say based on a review of surveillance video from several locations, cell phone location data and witness statements, they have probable cause to believe that Fernandez committed the murder.

Police released this surveillance video shortly after the murder, asking the public to help identify the man shown:
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Surveillance video shows a man police want to question in connection with the murder of a Brooklyn pizzeria owner.

Detailed in a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday, court records indicate surveillance video shows Fernandez near Barbati's home both before and after the shooting, and at one point he is reportedly captured hiding behind a tree and carrying what appeared to be a firearm.

In addition to surveillance video federal investigators say cellular data also placed Fernandez at the murder scene and at L&B earlier that day.

"He was just a regular hard working pizza man who loved and lived for his family, and the fact he gets executed on the front door in a precinct where there hadn't been a murder in two years was unbelievable to everybody," said Arthur Aidala, Barbati's longtime lawyer.

The arrest was made by federal investigators who have worked on cases involving the mob and organized crime, but they say it appears to have been a crime of opportunity.

Fernandez knew the victim's routine and may have been attempting a robbery, which was botched, authorities say, adding there is evidence Fernandez has money problems, possibly from outstanding gambling debts.

The Barbati family released a statement:
"The family of Louis Barbati is relieved that charges have been brought against the man who killed their beloved family member. The loss of "Lou Lou" leaves a void that will never be filled, however the fact that someone is being brought to justice aides in the healing process. We now hope that the court system will move swiftly to bring this matter to a just result and that, if convicted, the perpetrator receives the maximum penalty provided by law. The family wishes to thank all the law enforcement officials who worked so hard for so long to see that justice was done."
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shootingbrooklyn newsDyker HeightsNew York City
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