BY ANNA SPIVAK & MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK
Crucial details have emerged in the case of L&B Spumoni Gardens co-owner Louis Barbati’s death.
A police source has told this paper that Andy Fernandez, of Melville, Long Island was arrested today and could be arraigned as soon as tomorrow in connection with the 61-year-old’s murder, which occurred on June 30.
Barbati, a longtime co-owner of the family-owned Bensonhurst pizzeria, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds to his torso outside of his Dyker Heights home near 76th Street and 12th Avenue just past 7 p.m. while his wife and sons were inside.
According to the source, at around 6 p.m. that night, Fernandez was allegedly posted at Barbati’s residence for approximately an hour, waiting for him across the street in a parked Acura TLR.
At around 7 p.m., the source went on, Fernandez is believed to have spotted Barbati pulling up in his Mercedes, at which point the suspect is said to have hidden behind a tree, slipped on rubber gloves and pulled out a revolver. The source said that Fernandez is then believed to have approached Barbati — who the source further says was carrying $15,000 and three Rolex watches in a plastic L&B shopping bag — and shot him.
“We believe that Fernandez attempted to rob Barbati and Barbati pulled away and tried to run inside the house, [into] the gated backyard,” the police source said, alleging, “Fernandez proceeds to shoot him five times, then runs up the block, jumps in his white Acura TLR and flees back to his home.”
Surveillance footage released in early July led law enforcement officials to Fernandez, the source said. Phone records were also used in the joint investigation between the NYPD and the FBI. The FBI took the lead in making the arrest.
“Right now the motive is not 100 percent clear,” the source added. “We believe it was a robbery gone bad but that’s not 100 percent [confirmed] yet.”
According to the source, Fernandez, formerly of Brooklyn, has a criminal record including at least one arrest for assault with respect to an older couple. The police said that Fernandez’s cellphone, as well as the vehicle believed to have been used by him that evening, were recovered this morning, Thursday, November 3, at his residence.
Helen Klein contributed reporting to this article.