A suspect has been arrested in the murder of Louis Barbati, the co-owner of L&B Spumoni Gardens who was gunned down in August. Federal authorities have arrested Andres "Andy" Fernandez in connection with the murder, which took place outside of Barbati's home in Dyker Heights. Fernandez is expected to be arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court at some point today.
On the evening of August 31st, Barbati was returning home from his restaurant when he was shot five times by a hooded gunman while walking from his car to his house on 12th Avenue and 76th Street. The following day, police indicated the shooting may have been a botched robbery, as Barbati was carrying a reported $15,000 in cash, though no money was taken from the scene.
"Mr. Barbati does not normally carry that amount of money," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at the time. "That, along with the perp waiting for him to pull up and approach him there."
Police have been searching for a person of interest caught on surveillance video around the time of the shooting. An FBI agent has testified that Fernandez was seen on video hiding behind a tree across from Barbati's home; the suspect allegedly donned a glove and was seen with a handgun.
Court documents also indicate that Fernandez's cellphone was near the pizzeria earlier in the day and again later that evening at the scene of the crime.
Investigators have also been looking at a rivalry between L&B Spumoni Gardens and a competing Staten Island pizzeria opened by Eugene Lombardo, a former employee of L&B, who was accused of copying L&B's tomato sauce recipe. In 2009, charges were brought against Francis Guerra, an alleged Colombo crime family mobster who was related to an L&B owner through marriage, after Guerra allegedly threatened Lombardo. Those charges were dropped in 2012.