ELLENVILLE — Village Trustee Efrain Lopez fired four shots in killing his ex-partner, her boyfriend and himself Thursday morning, according to autopsies completed Friday.
Ellenville Police Chief Phil Mattracion said that Lopez hit Jose Cruz, the boyfriend, with two shots, his former longtime domestic partner Margarita Soto with one shot, and took his own life with one shot.
The cause of death in all three cases was massive trauma and hemorrhaging, Mattracion said.
The shootings happened at 9:56 a.m. Thursday in the parking lot of the Canal Lot Apartment complex at 110 Center St.
Cruz and Soto, both 55, had pulled into the parking lot of the complex, where it is believed Cruz and Soto were living together. Lopez, also 55, pulled up behind their car in his black sedan. When Cruz got out of his car, Lopez got out of his with a lever action .30-.30-caliber rifle and shot Cruz twice, killing him. Then Lopez went around to the passenger side of the first car and shot through the passenger-side window, killing Soto. He then fatally shot himself in the head.
Mattracion said Thursday that Lopez did not leave a suicide note of any kind. Friday, he added that investigators had yet to find any warning signs that Lopez would kill.
“Normally, he had the biggest smile,” Mattracion said, “but behind those biggest smiles sometimes is the darkest fears, the darkest secrets.”
Investigators have determined that Soto had been living in California, Florida and Puerto Rico for some time and had returned to Ellenville on Dec. 17. It was at that point, Mattracion said, that she started dating Cruz.
It was also in the last few weeks that family members had started to notice that Lopez was growing despondent, the police chief said.
The double murder-suicide has rocked the village. Friday, grief counselors were assisting students and staff in the Ellenville school district, where Lopez had worked for more than 30 years.
Thursday, the school had been in lockdown after two witnesses at the scene of the shooting told police they thought Lopez had headed for the school. He had not; Lopez was dead, Mattracion said.
Grief counselors were also working with staff and clients at Samaritan Daytop Village in Ellenville, where Cruz worked. Daytop officials said Friday: “Samaritan Daytop Village is deeply saddened by these events and extends our condolences to the family of our staff member.”
Members of all three families met with Mattracion on Friday and are making funeral arrangements, he said.