An arrest has been made in the summer murder of the owner of Brooklyn's famous L&B Spumoni Gardens restaurant. NY1's Lori Chung filed the following report.
Friends and relatives of Louis Barbati left federal court still grieving but grateful investigators have identified and charged a man wanted for gunning him down.
"It's not going to bring Lou Lou back, obviously, but we're going to follow it through," said family spokesperson Philip Gregory. "It was a vicious thing, and the family is very, very upset. They're trying to get through it the best they can."
Prosecutors say surveillance video shows Andres Fernandez lying in wait for Barbati last June as he returned to his Dyker Heights home from L&B Spumoni Gardens, where he was part-owner.
Fernandez allegedly hid behind a tree near Barbati's car, slipped on a glove and then walked towards the 61-year-old holding a gun in his gloved hand. Barbati was shot five times.
Though no money was taken, FBI investigators say Fernandez was after the $15,000 in cash Barbati brought home from the restaurant.
"We saw him in court and that was the first we ever saw of him," Gregory said. "Yes, he's a stranger to us."
Barbati's presence is still missed at the famed pizzeria, where he was a fixture.
"He was there all the time, on the busiest weekends, when this whole place would be hundreds and hundreds of people, he'd be back there making sure everything was going well."
"It's just very sad," said Tony Ciccone, a friend of Barbati. "It's very emotional because we know him to be a very happy man. A big Met fan."
And as many customers hoped, the arrest brought Barbati's loved ones some peace. In a statement, relatives say, "The loss of 'Lou Lou' leaves a void that will never be filled, however the fact that someone is being brought to justice aides in the healing process."
Surveillance video from the restaurant shows a man matching Fernandez's description in the hours before the shooting.
Fernandez is now facing a number of charges including murder.