Ana Desousa, a 33-year-old pregnant New York woman, and her boyfriend, Alafia Rodriguez, 46, were killed in their Staten Island home on Monday in an apparent home invasion gone wrong.
Philip Moreno, 43, was arrested in the area moments later because he was seen leaving the Grandview Avenue residence after 5 p.m. According to reports, the suspect was carrying a gun and zip ties that he had intended to use on the couple.
Police had discovered the dead couple on the floor minutes before the arrest was made. A 43-year-old woman was also found in the living room.
She was reportedly shot in the back, but her identity has not been revealed. On Monday night, her condition was still listed as critical at the hospital.
A 2-year-old girl, who authorities believe is the daughter of the slain couple, was found unharmed. The child reportedly named Blue was taken to Richmond University Medical Center for evaluation.
Authorities are trying to assess if the deadly incident was drug-related because Rodriguez had a few run-ins with the law in the past.
NYPD’s Assistant Chief Kenneth Corey shared: “I can tell you that I observed narcotics and narcotics paraphernalia.” Cocaine and a silencer were reportedly recovered at the scene.
However, people close to him insist that he was a different man now, and he had turned his life around. He was also very excited to have another child with his girlfriend of at least three years.
Defense lawyer Mario Gallucci, who first met Rodriguez when he was 16, told The Staten Island Advance: “He became a very good friend. He used to call me Mr. President, and I used to call him the Mayor of Mariners Harbor. Everybody knew ‘Laf.’ Any time there was anybody with a problem, Laf would help. He was one of the guys that was trying to make sure that these young kids didn’t kill each other.”
On the other hand, the suspect is described as a career criminal. Moreno spent 14 years in prison for the 1992 murder of Theodis Watson. He was released on parole in 2007.
Moreover, his name is linked to several other drug and weapon offenses. According to reports, Rodriguez and Moreno were friends on Facebook.
Moreno’s attorney, Mark Fonte, stated: “The situation at this point is fluid. I have shut down the interrogation of my client. My office is attempting to assess the facts and determine what happened.”
The two victims were posting messages about Mother’s Day on social media less than 24 hours before their deaths. Charges against Moreno are expected this week.