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Man and Woman Shot to Death Outside Bronx Motel

By  Jess Wisloski and Jesse Lent | October 13, 2012 11:40am | Updated on October 13, 2012 11:42pm

EASTCHESTER — A man and woman were shot to death outside a Bronx motel early Saturday morning in a bloody double-homicide, police and news reports said.

Wayne Hamilton, 50, of Milwaukee, WI, was found shot in the back, outside of the Holiday Motel's main office around 3:13 a.m., police said.

Tracey Bennett, 38, of Elmont, Long Island, was shot in the head outside of the motel on the New England Thruway at Conner Street in Eastchester, police and witnesses said.

Two men who said they were friends with Hamilton, came to the motel Saturday afternoon after friends who live in Jamaica had contacted them saying the man had been shot there. Hamilton was a reggae singer whose stage name was Captain Barkey, was originally from Jamaica, and had been at a Bronx club earlier in the night, they said.

 Joseph Kernizan is suspected of a double homicide in the Bronx on October 13, 2012.
Joseph Kernizan is suspected of a double homicide in the Bronx on October 13, 2012.
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"I saw him last night at Memories playing dominoes," said Oneil Taylor, of the Bronx. "I came down here to find out if it was true."

The other friend, a shuttle driver who didn't want his name used, said he had picked up the victim yesterday from the airport and brought him to the Fenton Avenue club.

Witnesses who were partying in a motel room upstairs, said they overheard four to five gunshots break out, 1010 WINS reported, before running to see what was happening.

"It looked like she was like, begging him not to shoot her," said Ricky G., who was celebrating his friend's birthday upstairs. "But then he shot her twice," he told 1010 WINS, speaking about an unknown shooter.

Augustine Mawugbe, 45, said he was asleep in his room when he heard the shootings.

"I was sleeping, I heard the gun shots — boom boom boom," said Mawugbe. Looking outside the window, he saw a tall man in a brown polo shirt doing the shooting, he said. "He jumped into the car and drove away. He drove fast," he added. He said the man fired about ten times, and got into a light green Toyota Camry or Ford Taurus.

"What I saw was serious man. I was shaking," he said.

Friends described seeing Hamilton leave Memories with Bennett in a white car early Saturday morning. Natchelous Demus, 37, also a reggae musician, based in Hartford, Conn., said Hamilton had a wife in Wisconsin, but that he had seen his friend with Bennett before.

"My friend called me last night around 11 o'clock," said Demus, referring to Hamilton, speaking to reporters at Memories on Saturday evening. "He called to say he was in town and said he'd call me back in 20 minutes," but Demus said it was the last he heard from the artist. He learned about the death in church that day.

"I said 'I can't believe that, man.' It was like [a shock] in my heart." He said Hamilton had several children, and was a happy guy. "He's a joyful dude. He gives you a lot of jokes, makes you feel welcome every time," he said.

Police said Sunday that they were looking for Joseph Kirnizan, 42, believing that he’s the man who best matches witness descriptions of the incident. He’s described as roughly 5-foot-5 and weighing 220 pounds, police said.

The suspected shooter had been an ex-lover of Bennett's, according to the NY Daily News, and she had an order of protection out against him.

 A man and a woman were shot outside the Holiday Motel on October 13, 2012. A photo of the Holiday Motel sign at dusk, December 2008.
A man and a woman were shot outside the Holiday Motel on October 13, 2012. A photo of the Holiday Motel sign at dusk, December 2008.
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The News also reported that the two had luggage in the hotel, and were attacked as they were exiting their room.

Reviews on Yelp.com and Google ranged from "excellent" describing "clean and comfortable" rooms to "poor", with complaints it catered to a trucking crowd, was "seedy" and several posts mentioned prostitution.

"This is a quiet place," said a front desk worker at the hotel named Lou, who did not want his last name used. Police had just let him in at 12:45 p.m Sunday, and he said he did not know if the victms had been staying at the hotel.

The motel rents rooms for as little as $40 for daytime hours or a three-hour block, according to posted rates.

A white sedan was removed from the hotel parking lot Saturday afternoon by an NYPD tow truck.

Police said an investigation was ongoing. Neither victim's identity had been released Saturday afternoon, pending family notification.