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Man Charged in Triple Murder Near Columbia University

By  Jess Wisloski and Murray Weiss | June 23, 2012 3:20pm | Updated on June 23, 2012 7:30pm

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — A Bronx man was arrested on Saturday for a triple murder near Columbia University in early June, police said.

Roberto Nunez, 30, of the Bronx, was hit with murder and weapons charges for allegedly shooting Amaury Rodriguez, 30, Heriberto Suazo, 26 and Luis Catalan, 25, as they sat inside a parked BMW at West 122nd Street near Claremont Avenue on June 7, the NYPD said.

Police had initially believed that the point-blank shootings, just steps from Columbia University, were done out of revenge for a drug theft, but it now appears to have been a robbery after what was set up as a drug deal between the three men and Nunez, sources told DNAinfo.com New York.

West 122nd Street is closed off following a triple homicide on June 7, 2012.
West 122nd Street is closed off following a triple homicide on June 7, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Emily Frost

Nunez met up with the men under the pretense of buying drugs from them, and instead shot all three, sources told DNAinfo.com New York. Nunez was seen walking calmly from the scene in a video the NYPD released publicly, but in another video, he was seen raiding the trunk of the gray 2009 BMW LI, stealing the men's cash, sources said. He only made off with a few thousand dollars, sources told DNAinfo.com New York.

Nunoz was apprehended after police linked DNA evidence found on a shirt he had discarded at the scene, police found at the scene, and a gun that was used in the murders was also purchased by undercover officers, police said. 

The three men's bodies were first discovered by a passerby near the Columbia University campus, shortly after 6:30 p.m. in the dark grey vehicle.

Police arrested Nunez at a place in the Bronx rented by his brother, at 8:15 a.m. Saturday, police said. Nunez had a prior record that included robbery, and eight other arrests, according to sources.

Nunez was charged with one count of first-degree murder, and three counts of murder in the second degree. He was also charged with criminal possession of a loaded firearm.