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The family of Albert Luis Lopez Rodriguez, a Selden man who was shot and killed last year in a Port Jefferson billiards hall, wailed and sobbed on the anniversary of his death, knowing that his killer was still out there.
“It does hurt a lot, he was my oldest brother,” Jason Rodriguez said at a conference held at Suffolk County Police headquarters in Yaphank July 22. “He never looked for any trouble … everything he did was for his family.”
Rodriguez, 27, was killed, according to police, after an argument and altercation at Billiards DBM in Upper Port July 22, 2018. Alejandro Vargas-Diaz, 36, who also goes by Papujo, Alejandro deVargas-Diaz and Robin Vargas allegedly had an argument with Rodriguez which ended in Vargas-Diaz shooting Rodriguez three times before escaping out the front door of the billiards hall. The victim allegedly was aquinted with the suspect, and was a father of three children, now aged two, seven and nine.
Police-obtained video of the billiards hall shows the place was lightly populated the night of the murder. Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said Rodriguez was at the billiards hall with one of his brothers, his cousin and girlfriend. They would not specify on the precise nature of the argument between the two men. Both men hail from Sabana Iglesia in the Dominican Republic.
Family members at the press conference held signs reading “No Peace,” shouting there would be no peace until their family member’s murderer was found. Luz Lopez, Rodriguez’ mother, could hardly hold back tears as she spoke.
“My heart is broken,” she said. “I will only have peace knowing the guy is in jail.”
Police have had little luck in finding Vargas-Diaz. Directly after the murder, the suspect fled the building, and was next spotted two hours later in Jamaica, Queens, near the train station. The murder weapon, a pistol, was found in the woods nearby in Port Jefferson.
Police sent a detective to the Dominican Republic to work with local police officials in that country, though police said they did not currently know where precisely Vargas-Diaz could be, adding he has family in Brooklyn, Queens, Paramus and Patterson, New Jersey and Hartford, Connecticut. Police said the suspect did not have an arrest record, and that he has had residency status in the U.S., but that has since expired. He was also known to frequent barbershops and pool halls in the area.
“There is a feeling by some in the community this was an accident,” Hart said. “It was no accident. It was an intentional murder.”
The family spent the anniversary of Rodriguez’s murder at his gravesite in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Center Moriches. With emotions mixing between stern and devastating sadness, the family said they will not be content until their family member’s killer is found.
“There’s no way he can hide from this,” Jason Rodriguez said.