A man has pleaded guilty to murdering his girlfriend outside their apartment and then firing on officers in a subsequent standoff, during which he held his two children hostage.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office announced on Wednesday that Jose C. Rodriguez will soon be sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for his two charges, second-degree murder and attempted aggravated murder of a police officer.
At the time of the shooting, in November 2013, the Suffolk County Police Department said officers responding to several 911 calls about hearing gunshots found a woman, 36-year-old Kimberly Sellitto, lying on the front lawn of the apartment in the Brookwood at Ridge complex, off of Middle Country Road. They moved her body to safety, but authorities later determined she was dead from a gunshot wound to the head.
Rodriguez, who is now 34, fired several shotgun rounds at those responding officers while he was barricaded in the apartment with his two children, the DA’s office said.
Emergency Service Section and Hostage Negotiation Team officers got Rodriguez to release his two children, police said at the time. Later on, the man fired multiple rifle rounds at officers.
None of the officers were hurt, police said, but bullets struck an armored SCPD vehicle.
The officers fired back, also not injuring Rodriguez. The man subsequently surrendered and was taken into custody, a couple of hours after the incident began.
The children were not hurt, and were released to the custody of their mother. Sellitto was pronounced dead at the scene.
Although Rodriguez originally pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been remanded to jail since the murder, he pleaded guilty during a pretrial hearing in Riverhead this week, the DA’s office said. He was scheduled to be sentenced in State Supreme Court to 30 years to life in prison on Jan. 8.