NYPD officials offered chilling details of their investigation into a Bronx construction site death Thursday as they identified the victim as the beloved sort of "mayor of City Island" and said she had been shot six times by a handyman she knew.
Lizbeth Mass, a 52-year-old who helped direct traffic for a construction company on City Island, was gunned down shortly after noon a day earlier just off the bridge, police said. Authorities identified the suspect as 66-year-old Geraldo Reyes, who they say works as a handyman in the vicinity of the site.
According to investigators, Reyes often came by the site on his bicycle and Mass always had a friendly smile and chat for him when he did. On Wednesday, the day of the shooting, he brought her a sandwich and talked to him, cops say. He left after that discussion, the details of which cops are still looking into at this time.
A short time later, Reyes allegedly returned with a loaded revolver and shot her a half-dozen times. At this point, police say that's all they know of their relationship.
It's not clear if the gun belonged to Reyes, nor whether it was legally obtained by him or any other person. Cops say they're still searching for a possible motive. NYPD Chief of Detective James Essig told the NY Daily News that the 44-magnum Smith & Wesson was reported stolen from a home in the area.
Local City Island residents describe Mass as a "friendly face" who always waved to cars and passersby and had kind words for motorists as they waited in traffic. Those residents said she was "sort of like the mayor of City Island," police said, and at this point, "as far as we can discern, she's just a friendly person."
Mass' boyfriend Dwayne Walker told the NY Daily News that she had befriended Reyes, but he "just exploded." Her brother, Raul Mass, told the newspaper that everything changed after she told Reyes about her boyfriend.
Police said Thursday that Reyes has been charged with murder, manslaughter and weapon charges. It wasn't immediately clear if he had retained or been appointed an attorney.
News 4 reported Wednesday that Reyes was hospitalized after Mass' boyfriend allegedly hit him with his car twice following the shooting before running over to his girlfriend and trying to administer CPR, law enforcement sources said.
In a statement following the shooting, Northeast Remsco Construction said they were "shocked and saddened to learn that one of our employees on our City Island project has been the victim of a violent crime. At this time, we are still receiving information and are working to provide support to those impacted."
The investigation is ongoing.