A Ridge man who prosecutors say executed his girlfriend after a heated argument said Monday he was sorry for fatally shooting her and then firing at police officers.
"I do apologize," said Jose Rodriguez III, 32, as he was being led out of the Suffolk Police Sixth Precinct in Selden to his arraignment. Asked whether he regretted that he won't be able to spend time with his two young children, Rodriguez responded, "I'm sorry for them, too."
Judge Paul M. Hensley ordered Rodriguez held without bail during his arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip. He is charged with second-degree murder and attempted aggravated murder.
Prosecutors said Rodriguez shot his longtime girlfriend, Kimberly Sellitto, 36, twice in front of their apartment on Village Drive in the Brookwood at Ridge apartment complex after the two got into an argument. Rodriguez's two small children were inside the apartment when the argument escalated but they were not injured.
Robert Biancavilla, deputy bureau chief of the Homicide Bureau for the Suffolk district attorney's office, said in court that Rodriguez shot Sellitto twice as she was fleeing the apartment. Sellitto was shot in the back of the head and in the back, he said.
Biancavilla told the court that Rodriguez's shooting of Sellitto was an "execution."
"That's what it was," Biancavilla said after the hearing. "She was fleeing. It was from close range. . . . I mean there was no doubt of what his intent was."
Rodriguez appeared in court in a white jumpsuit and with bruises to his face. He was represented Monday by court-appointed attorney Steve Fondulis of Port Jefferson.
Fondulis did not have much to say on his client's behalf after the hearing because, he said, he had just met Rodriguez before the suspect was arraigned.
Police responded to the apartment complex about 11:40 a.m. Sunday after they received calls of gunshots fired. When officers arrived, they found Sellitto lying dead in front of the apartment.
Rodriguez fired six shots from a rifle at an Emergency Services Unit truck carrying two officers who arrived on the scene, prompting an exchange of gunfire with police. No one was injured in the gun battle.
Biancavilla said he didn't know whether the officers knew there were children in the home when they returned fire.
However, Biancavilla said, "there was a call made to the mother of the children from him [Rodriguez] during which time he admitted that he had just killed his girlfriend."
Rodriguez told reporters he kept his two sons inside the home after he shot his girlfriend because he wanted to make sure they were released to their biological mother.
He is due back in court Friday.