A suspect has been arrested in the killing of L&B Spumoni Gardens owner Louis Barbati, officials confirmed on Nov. 3.
Investigators identified the man as Andres Fernandez.
Barbati was shot dead in front of his Dyker Heights home at the corner of 12th Avenue and 76th Street on June 30 in what investigators believed was a botched robbery.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent has testified that surveillance video shows Fernandez hiding behind a tree across the street from Barbati’s house just before the apparent murder, according to court documents unsealed today. The suspect can be seen putting on a black glove and holding what appears to be a handgun, the agent testified. Video further shows him crossing the street toward Barbati’s house just before the attack, the investigator attested. Cell phone records put him outside Barbati’s home and near Spumoni Gardens on the day of the killing, investigators said.
Barbati’s family is relieved that someone may be held accountable for the killing, according to a statement issued through the family’s lawyer.
“The loss of ‘Lou Lou’ leaves a void that will never be filled, however the fact that someone is being brought to justice aides in the healing process,” the letter states. “We now hope that the court system will move swiftly to bring this matter to a just result and that, if convicted, the perpetrator receives the maximum penalty provided by law. The family wishes to thank all the law enforcement officials who worked so hard for so long to see that justice was done.”
Police believe the attack was a botched robbery, but some speculated the crime may have been mob-related.
The agent who testified in the criminal complaint against Fernandez specializes in organized crime and has been involved in five such cases including ones related to the “La Cosa Nostra” crime family, he testified. He did not divulge the full story, he stated in the complaint.
“Because the purpose of this complaint is to set forth only those facts necessary to establish probable cause to arrest, I have not described all the relevant facts and circumstances of which I am aware,” he stated.
Barbati’s sister expressed concern outside of court that Fernandez may be connected.
“We’re afraid. We don’t know what kind of reach this guy has. This is a horrible life for us,” said sibling Camille MCDonald.
Fernandez is charged with murder, robbery, and firearms possession, but his lawyer Avrom Robin declined to comment.
Judge Peggy Kuo did not set a bail amount.
— with Caroline Spivack