The Brooklyn bodybuilder accused of shooting his parents in their Hewlett Harbor mansion on Christmas morning opened fire during a dispute over the custody of his 1-year-old child, Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Wednesday.
Dino Tomassetti, 29, was charged with two counts of second-degree attempted murder during an arraignment in Nassau County criminal court in Hempstead on Wednesday. He was ordered to be held without bail and is scheduled to return to court Jan. 5.
"It would be irresponsible for me to comment on the case at this early juncture," said Tomassetti's attorney, Marco La Racca of Orange, New Jersey. "It is unfortunate that he is being prosecuted in the media."
Tomassetti became embroiled in an argument with his parents, Rocco and Vincenza Tomassetti, over custody of his child at about 10 a.m. on Christmas Day, according to Ryder. The couple had been caring for the baby, Ryder said. The child’s mother also was present at the home when the shooting occurred.
The confrontation escalated when Tomassetti attempted to leave his parents’ sprawling home with the child, Ryder said.
"When the parents objected, the defendant produced a .22-caliber pistol," Ryder said. "He shot the mother, Vincenza Tomassetti, age 64, in the head near the right temple, and then shot the father, Rocco Tomassetti, age 65, in the back and left wrist. He struck his father then in the head with the gun numerous times after he ran out of bullets."
The baby and its mother were in the room when the shooting occurred, Ryder said.
Tomassetti fled from his parents’ home in his vehicle, Ryder said, and was arrested later Saturday in Mahwah, New Jersey. He waived his right to an extradition hearing in Bergen County court on Tuesday and was transported to Nassau County early Wednesday.
Tomassetti did not have any prior criminal record, according to Ryder, who also said the suspect did not have a license for the .22-caliber pistol.
Tomassetti did not speak to reporters when officers led him out of Nassau County Police Department headquarters in Mineola.
The child is now in the custody of its mother, Ryder said. Rocco and Vincenza were treated at local hospitals and released earlier this week, Ryder said.