Two men have been arrested in the fatal shooting of a woman in Malden, Massachusetts, on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
City officials were first to announce the arrest on Twitter Wednesday, saying they were "relieved that the suspect of this heinous crime has been apprehended."
Authorities said a 30-year-old woman visiting friends at their home in Malden was shot and killed Tuesday morning during a robbery.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said at a news conference Tuesday night that 30-year-old Brian Butler was suspected of the killing. Her office said in a news release Wednesday morning that Butler was arrested without incident in an Ashland home.
Officials had obtained a warrant for Butler's arrest on multiple charges including murder, armed home invasion, armed assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm and possession of a loaded firearm.
Police said they have also arrested Cody DiGaetano, 24, of Chelsea, for allegedly helping Butler flee the scene and providing transportation to Ashland after the shooting. He is charged with being an accessory after the fact to an armed robbery and to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Both men were arraigned Wednesday in Malden District Court. Butler pleaded not guilty and was ordered to be held without bail, while DiGaetano was freed on personal recognizance.
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Malden police received a 911 call around 7:15 a.m. reporting a robbery on Fairmont Street during which someone was shot, Ryan said. The 911 caller identified the person who left the scene, headed toward Boston Street, as Butler.
The woman who called police told responding officers that a woman upstairs in the house had been shot in the head, Ryan said. Police found the victim -- identified as Erin Fitzgibbon -- in a bedroom upstairs, and she was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly after she arrived.
The district attorney said Fitzgibbon was only a visitor to the home and was in no way connected to the events that took place.
“Erin Fitzgibbon’s death was the tragic result of her being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We recognize that for her loved ones and for the public last night was a long night wondering about the whereabouts of Mr. Butler,” Ryan said in a statement Wednesday. “We believe that as a result of the media attention on this case an individual known to the persons involved in this incident was able to help move our investigation forward in locating Mr. Butler. We are grateful for everyone’s patience and vigilance in this case.”
Investigators said the 50-year-old woman who lives in the Malden home was in her kitchen preparing coffee when suddenly she saw someone she knows at her backdoor, pointing a gun at her, Ryan said.
The woman, who wasn’t identified, at first thought it was a joke since she knew the individual, but then realized something was wrong, according to Ryan.
The man fired his weapon at least twice, Ryan said, although the gun appeared to have malfunctioned. It did in some way break the glass of the door.
The woman, her husband and their adult son escaped safely out the front entrance of the house to the porch. Ryan said the trio believed their guest, Fitzgibbon, had joined them, but when they got outside, they heard an additional gunshot coming from inside the house.
They saw Butler -- who is known to all three of them -- leaving the home, clutching his handgun and some property he had taken from the room where the victim was staying, Ryan said.
According to Ryan, Butler is believed to be a friend of the adult son and had visited the home on a number of occasions. She said the suspect is believed to have been in the room before where he allegedly shot Fitzgibbon and stole property.
The district attorney would not comment on what was allegedly stolen from the home.
The police chief also spoke at the news conference Tuesday night and assured residents they were safe. He said Tuesday's shooting was an isolated incident and they do not believe it was random.
"Police officers come to work every day to protect lives and save lives. Despite those best intentions and the greatest efforts, there are times when we are called, to times when people lose their lives. This was one of those mornings," Chief Kevin Molis said. "And when those things happen, it's the responsibility of police officers, members of the Malden Police Department, state police, the district attorney, to investigate those incidents and bring people to justice."
"Justice is a difficult word to apply when a family member loses a loved one. That happened today," the chief added. "But we continue on our efforts to seek evidence, we ask some people to help us. We ask people if they have any information about this crime, or the whereabouts of the wanted person to notify us."