The 21-year-old who allegedly shot and killed a man during a traffic dispute last week in Lowell, Massachusetts, faced a judge Friday, one day after he was taken into custody.
Rafael Garcia-Rey was arrested Thursday by Lowell police, wanted in connection with the shooting that happened Nov. 15 on Maitland Avenue at Chelmsford Street. Authorities believe Garcia-Rey fatally shot 26-year-old Odogwu Ganobi following a verbal altercation about a traffic dispute.
It's unclear why the situation escalated to violence but a witness' statement indicates it may have started with a vehicle blocking traffic on a dead-end street.
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An officer’s affidavit filed in court details the account of the woman who was with Garcia-Rey that night. She told police she had parked her vehicle in the middle of the street, which blocked traffic and prevented any vehicles from being able to exit the street. She said that an unknown man approached her vehicle and began yelling at them. The man then walked around the back of the car and approached them. She said that Garcia-Rey got out of the car and that he and the man began arguing outside the car. The man asked Garcia-Rey "What are you going to do?" and that’s when she alleges Garcia-Rey shot him.
Surveillance video in the neighborhood also captured the altercation. According to the affidavit, a white sedan parked on Maitland Avenue about 6:41 p.m. A minute later, another car, identified as Ganobi’s vehicle, pulled up behind the suspect vehicle and parked. The footage showed Ganobi exit the vehicle and approach the driver’s side window of the suspect vehicle. The report describes “he then gestured in an agitated manner in the direction of the front passenger seat.” A woman exchanged words with Ganobi.
Ganoibi then walked around the back of the suspect vehicle toward the passenger side of the white sedan. At that point the video skipped and did not show what immediately followed, however, the next available video showed Ganobi on the ground in distress and the suspect vehicle was no longer visible.
Ganobi's family spoke with NBC10 Boston on Friday outside Lowell District Court and said they are devastated by this senseless shooting.
"My son is a very good boy. He grew into a pleasant man. He doesn’t look for anybody’s trouble," Stella Ganobi said. "He is so peaceful. He is so loving. He is so hardworking. Goes to school, doesn't look for anybody's trouble. I don't know how this befell him."
Stella Ganobi said her son, whom she called Louis, was headed to work last Tuesday evening for a security company when he was fatally shot at the end of the street where they live.
"Why? That is our question. Why did he do that?" Louis' father, Linus Ganobi, asked. "What did my son said to him that just made him to shoot him?"
Stella Ganobi says she was planning a big celebration for her son's graduation from Middlesex Community College in the spring. She says he was studying criminal justice because he wanted to help people.
"Criminal justice," she remarked. "Look at that and now he needs justice."
"Everyday we think that he will still wake up, just working, everything, all his rooms and things are there so we see it everyday we can’t believe that he’s gone," Linus Ganobi added.
Louis’ younger sister, Uchechukwu Ganobi, said she is distraught by her family's loss.
“He was always the one cheering me up, telling me, 'you will succeed, you will be great, I will always be there for you, you are my little sister.'” she recalled.
Garcia-Rey is being held without bail. He's due back in court Dec. 28. Attorney information wasn't immediately available.