BROOKLYN — The two Brooklyn ex-cons found killed in a Howard Beach marsh may have been involved in a drug turf war, sources said Thursday.
Investigators initially believed both men were shot in the head, but an autopsy revealed Thursday that Superville had been shot in the neck and elbow, as well as stabbed. Lopez's autopsy was not completed as of Thursday, officials said.
According to the sources, a girlfriend of one of the victims told detectives that her boyfriend received threats from his rivals.
The exact circumstances of the killings remained unclear, but Lopez's relatives said he was carrying $10,000 the day of his murder, which he planned to use to buy a car. They said he got the money by recently selling several watches and a chain.
He was last seen getting in a cab with his girlfriend and Superville hours before the killing, on their way to buy the car, a relative said.
Lopez, 25, of Bushwick, spent three years in prison for robbery and was released last May, state Department of Correction records show. According to court documents, he robbed a motorist at gunpoint in Bushwick on April 9, 2009, taking the vicitm's jewelry and car.
But Lopez's family said he recently "turned his life around," working construction with his step-father in the hope of eventually opening a daycare center.
He doted on his 6-year-old daughter Kelis in the meantime, friends and relatives said.
"He loved kids," said friend Deja Harris. "He was sweet, kind, a protector. He felt he had to protect everyone."
His sister, Tanisha Michael, 21, said that Lopez "was a loving person." "He loved his family," she said. "He'd lay in my bed, come wake me up, talk to me about anything."
Superville, who had been friends with Lopez since they both attended Brooklyn's I.S. 296, spent five years in prison for robbery and assault, and was released in August, according to state DOC records.
According to court documents, Superville and a group of men mugged a man at gunpoint in Bushwick on June 30, 2006, stealing a diamond earring and bookbag before beating the victim.
Superville, who was on parole at the time of the shooting, also worked in construction, according to Lopez' sister.
"We don’t want to tell everyone what a nice person he was," said a woman at Superville's home. "We already know that. We’re just not up to speaking right now."
Police are looking for the drivers of three vehicles spotted near the crime scene about the time they were killed.
Approximately 60 firefighters initially rushed to Spring Creek Park about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday responding to a massive fire that engulfed a portion of the grassy marshland there.
When firefighters finally brought the blaze under control about two hours later, they found the charred remains of the two men, face down, with their hands beneath them, sources said.
"Gary, Gary. They killed my son. They took my only son from me," said Elsie Bonilla, 46, Lopez's mother, said Thursday. "It hurts. It hurts me."
Bonilla said, crying at the mention of her son's name, said that she didn't have money for his funeral. She put out a warning to his killer.
"They're next," she said. "God doesn't sleep."