SCREENHOT PROVIDED BY WBZ-TV.
Brian Brito is taken to Peabody District Court in a screenshot provided by WBZ-TV.
By GAYLA CAWLEY
LYNN — The New Hampshire man previously called a “person of interest” in Monday’s night’s homicide in a quiet residential neighborhood has been charged with murder.
Brian Brito, 21 of Manchester, N.H., is accused of killing Mohammadreza Sina Zangiband, a 24-year-old pizza deliveryman for Atha’s Famous Roast Beef, the Essex County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
Brito will be arraigned Thursday in Lynn District Court.
Zangiband, of Salem, was delivering food for Atha’s, when he was shot multiple times on Bowler Street, near St. Pius V. School, a Catholic elementary school. He was found dead in his vehicle shortly before 6 p.m., authorities said.
“This was a brazen, senseless act that not only took the life of a hard-working young man, but also frightened community members,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement. “I am grateful to the many law enforcement officers who worked so diligently to obtain this warrant so that we may begin the process of securing justice on behalf of Mr. Zangiband and his family.”
Brito was arrested by State Police in Peabody about four hours after the shooting, while driving the gray Audi that was sought in connection with the homicide, and police said an illegal firearm was found in his possession.
He was arraigned in Peabody District Court on Tuesday on firearm and motor vehicle charges. Brito pleaded not guilty and was held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for April 10.
Lynn Police responded to the area of 29 Bowler St. in Lynn for multiple reports of shots fired and the window of a car being shot out. Police found a 2012 Hyundai Sonata pulled to the side of the road and inside was an unresponsive man suffering from at least one gunshot wound to the head, according to an Affidavit filed by State Police Trooper Thomas J. Sullivan IV in Lynn District Court.
The man was not breathing and bleeding heavily from the head and face, and police determined that he was dead, Sullivan wrote.
On the ground outside the driver’s side door of the car, officers saw four spent 9mm shell casings, Sullivan wrote.
One man who witnessed the shooting told police he saw the Hyundai driving toward him on Bowler Street, and a dark colored Audi came from behind the Hyundai on the left, overtook it and forced it to pull over, blocking the vehicle in. The witness said a man exited the Audi, walked around his car, back toward the Hyundai, and pointed a black semi-automatic handgun at the driver and shot him four to five times, Sullivan wrote.
The witness said the man then returned to the Audi, looked directly at him, got back into his car and left the scene.
Video cameras on personal homes in the area revealed additional evidence that seemed to match the evidence of the eyewitness, Sullivan wrote.
One video showed a gray Audi attempting to overtake a silver Hyundai on Bowler Street at the time of the shooting. A second video from a home farther down the street showed the Audi following the Hyundai, Sullivan wrote.
“These videos have led officers to postulate that the basis of the confrontation between the two motorists may have been the result of a road rage incident,” Sullivan wrote.
Shooting victim ‘quiet, yet always had a smile’
The affidavit contains two additional witness statements. A woman said she was resting in her home when she heard a single gunshot, followed by three more shots. She went to her window, looked outside and saw a dark colored Audi driving slowly toward her house before rapidly accelerating down Bowler Street toward Lake Street, Sullivan wrote.
A man said he was parking his car on Bowler Street when he heard shots fired behind his car. When he looked in his rearview mirror, he saw a man shoot into a stopped silver car. He said the man got back into a dark colored sedan and drove off, Sullivan wrote.
Katharine Ruiz, 25, of Lynn, a friend of Zangiband, said on Tuesday Sina was on his way from Atha’s to a delivery on Eastern Avenue and cut through Bowler Street. She described him as a “hard worker, very quiet, yet always had a smile on his face.”
Following his arrest, Brito was quickly linked to the description of a suspect wanted by North Andover police in connection with an armed robbery and sexual assault less than an hour before he was pulled over.
North Andover officers responding to a Richdale store were told by a female clerk that a man entered the store with his face concealed by a mask, and brandished a firearm. He ordered the clerk at gunpoint to lock the doors, and took her to a back room where she was sexually assaulted. The gunman then emptied the cash drawer and took numerous lottery tickets before fleeing the scene in an unknown direction, according to a North Andover police statement.
Brito is expected to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court Monday on those charges.
Gayla Cawley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.