A local elected official in upstate New York shot his “longtime domestic partner” and her new boyfriend Thursday before turning the gun on himself, police said.
Efrain Lopez shot at estranged partner Margarita Soto and her new paramour Jose Cruz just before 10 a.m. at a parking lot near the gunman’s home, officials said Thursday afternoon.
Lopez, a 55-year-old trustee for the Village of Ellenville, had pulled into the Canal Lock apartments lot about the same time Cruz did, according to Ellenville Police Chief Phil Mattracion.
Both men got out of their cars, the chief said, when Lopez pulled out a .30-30-caliber rifle and fatally shot Cruz, also 55.
He then walked over to Cruz’s vehicle, where Soto was in the passenger seat. Lopez then fired the rifle through the window, killing her.
Police described Soto, 55, as Lopez’s “longtime domestic partner” who began dating Cruz a short time ago.
“We do know he wasn’t happy about the situation,” Mattracion said of eyewitness accounts of Lopez seeing the pair.
Police found Soto and Cruz’s bodies in the parking lot, and later discovered Lopez’s in his car.
A deputy suggested the apartment complex shooting, in which three people were reportedly killed, was a murder-suicide.
A 911 caller initially said the gunman headed for a nearby school, prompting a temporary lockdown. Officials later lifted it once it became clear there wasn’t a new threat.
Lopez worked for the Ellenville Central School District in the custodial unit for the last 30 years, Mattracion said, and was well-liked in the community.
“He’s always been polite and courteous,” Mattracion said.
Investigators are looking into whether Lopez and Soto were having domestic disputes, Mattracion said, adding that Ellenville police hadn’t received any complaints.
The shooting sent panic through the sleepy Ulster County town of about 4,000, located less than 100 miles north of New York City.
“It is a tragedy of just unproportional magnitudes. I was shocked,” Mattracion said. “There was many emotions running through me.”
Source: Ny Daily News