The suspect wanted in connection with last month’s fatal hit-and-run crash on the Long Island Expressway which claimed the life of Maspeth, Queens bar owner George Gibbons has been caught.
Peter Rodriguez was arrested by the NYPD on Tuesday morning, a spokesman from the NYPD confirmed. The 36-year-old Brooklyn resident was captured in Connecticut.
A $10,000 reward had been offered for information leading to his arrest and conviction. The Irish Voice understands Rodriguez was apprehended by the Regional Fugitive Task Force after the NYPD received a tip-off regarding the suspect’s whereabouts.
The tragic death of the lifelong Queens resident and popular Irish American sparked a community campaign to bring Rodriguez to justice.
“We are over the moon,” Gibbons’s sister Bernadette told the Irish Voice on Tuesday. “I think every one of us started crying tears of joys and relief.
“It's not bringing George back but we feel a bit safer. Knowing now that he is caught is half the battle and step one in getting justice,” she added.
The fatal crash occurred on Saturday, October 15, shortly after 6 a.m., when the 37-year-old owner of the Gibbons’ Home Irish pub in Maspeth was making the journey home in a cab after he finished work.
The livery cab had only gone a few blocks from the popular Queens bar when a wrong-way driver crashed into the vehicle on the service road of the Long Island Expressway. The driver, alleged to be Rodriguez, fled the scene. Gibbons was pronounced dead on arrival at Elmhurst Hospital.
The suspect, who was known to police, had previously been arrested on drug charges, assault, and other violent crimes. The Brooklyn resident had also done several stints in prison relating to his extensive rap sheet.
Since the death of Gibbons, the community in Maspeth has rallied together with a “Justice for George” campaign.
Last Sunday, hundreds of supporters, many wearing Justice for George T-shirts, gathered at 69th Street and Grand Avenue in Maspeth to lend their support to finding Rodriguez.
Volunteers had begun plastering wanted posters and fliers of Rodriguez around Queens and Brooklyn in the weeks following the popular bar owner’s death.
“Our family is beyond grateful for everyone's help and support in the past month, from helping to console and support,” Bernadette said.
“Being the softie that George was, he would probably have shed a few tears of thanks today for everyone in the community.”
While Gibbons’ Home remains closed, George’s brother Eamon plans to reopen it in the coming weeks.