PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There was an emotional plea Monday from a Long Island family seeking justice one year after a senseless murder.
A father of three was shot in the back in a petty argument. Then, the killer disappeared, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
One year to the day since their loss, the family filed into Suffolk County Police headquarters with tears and a plea.
Albert Luis Rodriquez-Lopez was a 27-year-old barber and father to a little girl and two other children who he will never see grow up.
“My heart is broken and I wait for that moment when they catch that guy because nobody happy now. Look at the children now asking for their father,” said Luz Lopez, the victim’s mother.
Her son was allegedly shot by an acquaintance last July inside what was a pool hall in Port Jefferson, after an argument caught on camera with 36-year-old Alejandro Vargas-Diaz, the suspected killer. The shooting takes place off camera. Seconds later, you see Vargas-Diaz fleeing and then at the Jamaica railroad station.
From there, he disappeared.
“We will not stop until justice has been served for this family, but we need the public’s help,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
After an exhaustive search, officials have upped the ante to a $5,000 reward for tips on the whereabouts of the fugitive.
The family is pleading for justice for Albert.
“It doesn’t matter what the argument was about. No one deserves to lose their life over a petty argument,” said Jason Rodriguez, the victim’s brother.
“I am here to tell you this was no accident. Vargas-Diaz shot Rodriquez-Lopez, who was unarmed, three times, twice in the back. This was an intentional murder,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said.
Police have canvassed as far away as his native Dominican Republic. They believe someone who knows where he’s hiding will want the fast cash reward, paid within 72 hours, anonymously.
Police said if Vargas-Diaz sticks to old routines, he may be working as a barber or frequenting a pool hall or selling drugs.
Vargas-Diaz was in this country as a legal resident, but that status has expired.