A local politician from upstate New York fatally shot his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend on Thursday before taking his own life in a grisly murder-suicide that shocked their small community, situated less than 100 miles north of New York City.
Efrain Lopez, a 55-year-old trustee for the Village of Ellenville, killed Margarita Soto and Jose Cruz at around 10:00 am at a parking lot near his home, the New York Daily News reported. Police said that Lopez and Cruz pulled into the Canal Lock apartments at nearly the same time before the shooting took place.
As Cruz parked and exited the car, Lopez approached him and fatally shot him with a .30-caliber rifle, according to Ellenville Police Chief Phil Mattracion. He then rounded to the passenger side of the vehicle and shot Soto, 55, before turning the rifle on himself.
Multiple 911 calls alerted police to the scene of the crime, where initial reports suggested that the gunman had fled on foot toward the nearby Ellenville school complex, the Times Herald-Record reported. The district was placed on lockdown.
Investigators later determined that there was no threat to the community after finding Soto, Cruz and Lopez, who were all declared dead at the scene.
Lopez, a Democrat, had just been re-elected to a four-year term and had serve the community as a trustee for a long time in addition to his work in maintenance for the school district.
“I have personally known Mr. Lopez for 30 years,” Mattracion said. “I can’t even explain how I feel at this point. I was shocked … just shock, disappointment, unbelievable sadness.”
Mattracion, who is also president of the school board, described Lopez as “polite and courteous” and said there were “no indications that this would ever transpire,” as there were no domestic disputes between Lopez and Soto on record.