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Person of interest probed in Staten Island killings, official says

Police investigate the scene of a double homicide

Police investigate the scene of a double homicide Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Staten Island. Investigators have questioned a person of interest in the killings, a law enforcement source said. Credit: Staten Island Advance / Hilton Flores

NYPD investigators questioned a person of interest late Wednesday in connection with the killing of two men Tuesday inside a Staten Island money lending business, a law enforcement official said.

Detectives believe the victims were shot to death by someone who at one time possibly worked at the company, Universal Merchant Funding, in the Dongan Hills section of Staten Island, the official said.

The company specializes in small business loans, according to its website.

Police said that officers responding to a 6 p.m. 911 call of shots fired arrived to find the two men dead of gunshot wounds.

One victim was identified as Michael Genovese, 57, of Edgewater, New Jersey. The identity of the other man was being withheld pending family notification.

At a briefing for reporters after NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill’s presentation to the New York Police Foundation, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said detectives quickly ruled out robbery as a motive in the slayings.

“We believe one or two of these males were purposely targeted by the shooter,” Boyce said. “Each male was shot three times at close range.”

Asked about possible organized crime connections to the shooting, Boyce said there weren’t any. The double homicide is the city’s first of 2017.

The Universal Merchant Funding didn’t have cash on the premises, said Boyce, adding that detectives were checking past lending activity at the company, as well as former employees. An eyewitness saw a man flee the location in a car after the shooting, Boyce said.


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