Police: 3 Dead In Harlem Murder-Suicide Prior To Apartment Fire

WCBS 880 Newsroom
October 18, 2019 - 8:19 pm
FDNY ambulance

Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Three people were found dead Friday afternoon in a Harlem apartment building that caught fire after there was reports of a shooting inside.

The FDNY said over 100 firefighters were called to battle the blaze, which was brought under control shortly before 7 p.m.

During a press briefing, officials said three individuals were found inside the building after the flames were brought under control. They all died from a bullet wound to the head.

“At this moment I can tell you that there are three individuals deceased from a gunshot wound to the head stemming from an earlier dispute,” said NYPD Detectives Chief Martine Materasso.

Authorities did not immediately release the names of the victims from the building on West 131st Street near Fifth Avenue.

“Responding officers made entry to the location and discovered a 78-year-old male lying on the first floor hallway with a gunshot wound to the head,” said Materasso. “The officer then heard an unknown male yelling from inside the apartment, 1A, ‘Come and get it.’”

The officers, she said, secured the location as the man barricaded himself inside the building and then began to smell smoke.

“Moments later, emergency service officers gained entry to the apartment and discovered a 59-year-old male, inside of the bathroom, with what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” Materasso said.

FDNY firefighters also responded and extinguished the fire. Afterwards, they discovered the body of a 62-year-old female on the second floor hallway with a gunshot wound to the head.

Materasso noted that the investigation revealed the 59-year-old subject was involved in a dispute with the 78-year-old victim prior to the shooting. It remains unclear what the two were arguing about.

The suspect then shot the female victim before barricading himself in the apartment.

Fire and police officials say they are still investigating the cause of the blaze.