Federal agents nabbed a drug-addled man accused of fatally shooting the owner of Brooklyn’s famed L&B Spumoni Gardens pizzeria — just over four months after the murder.
An FBI special agent who investigated the Bonanno and Colombo crime families arrested 41-year-old Andres Fernandez, but investigators have not found a clear link to organized crime, sources said. The accused killer clammed up.
Authorities said surveillance footage recovered near the scene of the murder in Dyker Heights showed Fernandez lurking near Louis Barbati’s home. He hid behind a tree, put on a glove and whipped out a handgun as Barbati pulled into the driveway of his home on June 30.
The gunman pumped five shots into Barbati’s back, leg and arm just as he arrived at the home on 12th Ave. near 76th St.
Cops zero in on Brooklyn pizzeria owner’s suspected killer
The 61-year-old victim was carrying a loaf of bread and about $15,000 in cash in a bag with the L&B logo on it, according to court papers. The shooter ran off without taking the cash.
“I’m shocked how long it took to get this guy,” the victim’s neighbor, Vitario Martinelli, said when told of the arrest Thursday.
Fernandez (r.) allegedly pumped at least five shots into Barbati, hitting him in the back, leg and arm in the yard of his home — but ran off without taking the cash.
(Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)
While investigators tried to figure out whether the shooter had mob ties, the victim’s family feared further violence.
“We’re afraid,” Barbati’s sister Camille McDonald said outside Brooklyn Federal Court, where Fernandez was ordered held without bail. “We don’t know what kind of reach this guy has. He’s a nut.”
Federal agents took Fernandez, a resident of Melville, L.I., to an area hospital after his Thursday morning arrest because he had been using illegal drugs in the past 24 hours, officials said.
Barbati’s widow, who was inside the home when the shooting erupted, told detectives her husband only brought large amounts of money home about six times a year — raising questions about how Fernandez was aware of the potential windfall.
The heavily tattooed Fernandez is charged with attempted federal robbery committed with a murder — which makes him eligible for the death penalty — but he will most likely face life in prison if convicted, officials said.
Lou Barbati, 61, was killed as he arrived home toting a loaf of bread for dinner and about $15,000 in cash.
Fernandez’s former neighbors in Sheepshead Bay said the murder suspect was a notorious crack addict who lost his family due to his drug use.
“He had serious drug problems,” said one neighbor, who asked not to be named. “He had a beautiful family. A wife and two kids. They left him because of the drugs. I’m glad they caught him.”
Federal investigators hoped Fernandez would cop to his possible mob ties after his arrest, but the alleged triggerman has kept his mouth shut, sources said. His attorney Avrom Robin declined to comment.
Surveillance cameras caught Fernandez lying in wait, then running to a white Acura after the shooting, officials said. The killing was not caught on video.
An investigation into his cell phone usage put him at the murder scene, as well as at L&B on 86th St. in Gravesend earlier that day — but no one had seen him at the pizza shop before, according to court papers.
“It’s crazy. We’ve never seen this guy,” one employee said Thursday. “We don’t know how he could have known about the money.” L&B’s, known for its tangy, sauce-topped Sicilian pizza and Italian ices, was founded by Barbati’s grandfather in 1939.
With Nicole Schubert, Rocco Parascandola
Send a Letter to the Editor
Powered by WPeMatico