NEW YORK (AP) — An armed homicide suspect died in gunfight with police early Tuesday after killing his ex-girlfriend and shooting at a man who was with her outside a casino, then making menacing remarks about it in phone calls and texts.
In between the casino slaying and his own death, the 51-year-old suspect called to tell the aunt of his ex that it was time for a burial, her family and police said. And in a text to the other man, he called himself the “Grim Reaper.”
The deadly sequence began at about 2 a.m. when the suspect rolled up in a white Dodge Charger and confronted Patricia Mohammed and the other man as they stood outside the Resorts World Casino in Queens, police said.
Mohammed’s aunt, Rose Marie Guilford, said the suspect and her niece were in an abusive relationship before breaking up about a year ago and the other man was only a friend. Police said Mohammed and the man were employees at the casino, where the suspect also once worked.
The suspect first shot at the 51-year-old man, who escaped, police said. He then shot the 55-year-old Mohammed multiple times as she tried to take cover in a car, they said.
After the suspect fled in the Charger, he twice called the aunt, who shared a home with Mohammed, she said.
“He told me I should prepare myself to bury my niece,” she said. “He called me back and said, ‘I gave it to her good.'”
She added: “I couldn’t say anything. What am I going to say? I was just listening to the guy rant and rave.”
The suspect also texted the surviving victim several times, “taunting him and calling himself the Grim Reaper,” said Robert Boyce, the New York Police Department’s chief of detectives.
About four hours later, three plainclothes officers hunting for the suspect in an unmarked van found him sitting in the Charger in a parking adjacent to a grade school, which was closed at the time.
“As they pulled up, they were immediately fired upon by this individual,” Boyce said. All three officers returned fire. The suspect was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Investigators recovered shell casings, along with a .380-caliber handgun, which was cocked, and an extra magazine and empty ammo box, police said. The van and Dodge Charger were still at the scene later Tuesday, along with dozens of evidence markers.
Haydee Vasquez, 49, said she was awakened by a commotion and gunshots in the parking lot of her apartment building. When she looked out the window, “the police were there, and then I heard bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,” she said.
Guilford called her niece “a beautiful, beautiful person.” Her involvement with a man who police say had an arrest record that included armed robbery had been a worry, she said.
“I always warned her and told her he wasn’t the kind of person she should be hanging around with,” she said. “But for some reason he had this hold on her.”
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