Local Crime, News

Prosecutor: Shooter lay in wait for murder victim

Pastora Silverio, the mother of Romel Danis, right, is hugged by Yocasta Silverio, an aunt of Danis, following the arraignment of Victor Figueroa who allegedly shot and killed Danis. (File Photo | Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — Before prosecutors said he shot and killed Romel Danis, Victor Figueroa-Flores, in a text message, said he was “going to an enemy party” on Lawton Avenue.

Assistant District Attorney Danielle Doherty-Wirwicz stated in Lynn District Court Friday that Figueroa-Flores and a juvenile “lay in wait by a pickup” and then fired early last Saturday morning, killing Danis and injuring two other unidentified males. The juvenile suspect was described by authorities as an unidentified 16-year-old male who was arrested in Middletown, N.Y.

“The second suspect is facing a charge of being a fugitive from justice,” said Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex County District Attorney’s office. “He has a decision to make on whether or not he wants to waive rendition. If he decides to wave it he would come back and face the charges here in Massachusetts and if he doesn’t wave it then we will seek a governor’s warrant.”

Figueroa-Flores was arrested at his home, 39 Baker St. in Lynn, at 3:41 p.m. Thursday. He was arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder in Lynn District Court Friday morning as nearly 20 members of Danis’ family, including his mother, looked on.

He entered a not guilty plea and was ordered held without bail by Judge William Fitzpatrick. Figueroa-Flores was found with a blue bandana and a Glock 19 with a 30-round magazine in his possession. There was one witness, a young woman who apparently threw the party, who stated the suspect picked her up at 4 a.m. the night of the fatal shooting, brought her to the scene, and admitted his involvement, according to Yuleisi Silverio, Danis’ cousin.

“Why my brother? He had nothing to do with the party,” said Jhonny Bryan, the victim’s brother. “It looked like it was planned out, like a set-up, but my brother has never been in a gang and I know this because he’s never been a fighter. There were a lot of innocent kids at that party so it’s like who was that ‘enemy’ they referred to in the text messages and how did they even know my brother was going to be there.”

The 18-year-old suspect heard the judge’s ruling while keeping his face behind a black curtain. Family members of Danis were not happy with the decision to keep Figueroa-Flores’ face out of view.

“I feel a little upset they wouldn’t let us see him,” said Silverio. “If he had the courage to do that to my cousin, then he should have enough courage to show his face to our family.”

Defense Attorney Francisco Napolitano said the suspect has strong family connections to the area. He also stated that Figueroa-Flores had a group of people waiting outside the courthouse to support his innocence, but no one was there, according to Danis’ brother.

“The defense attorney painted this perfect picture but I don’t see anyone out here,” said Bryan. “At the end of the day I don’t hold grudges against the family because everyone does whatever they want and you can’t blame the parents that probably worked hard to try and do the best for their kids.”

While the victim’s family still questions why this happened to him, they are happy with the judge’s decision to hold Figueroa-Flores without bail and acknowledged their belief that justice is being served.

“It could have been anyone’s drama at that party because Romel had no beef with anyone and he was friendly to everyone all the time,” said Stefanie Hernandez, Danis’ girlfriend. “I’m happy the judge gave no bail, but he can rot in jail for all I care.

The next steps are waiting for the second suspect to be charged back in Boston and for Figueroa-Flores’ next court date on July 23. Until then, Danis’ family has a lot it needs to accomplish, especially as it prepares for a fundraiser on Lawton Avenue, at 3 p.m. Saturday, to help pay for the funeral, which took place after the arraignment on Friday.

“I might have to take my mom and just get her away from this situation for a while, until everything calms down before the court date,” said Danis’ brother.

Bella diGrazia can be reached at [email protected].

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at [email protected].

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