Nassau County Police arrested two men in Levittown for a homicide/assault that resulted in the death of a 73-year-old grandmother. The incident, which occurred on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 1:50 p.m., also left the victim’s 24-year-old grandson with severe injuries.
At a press conference held on Thursday, Sept. 14, Patrick J. Ryder, acting commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department, revealed that the two defendants—Benjamin Lopez, 23, of Levittown, and Deangelo Gill, 19, of Uniondale—“were arrested immediately by the good work of our police officers, our detectives and a lot of good work done by police medics.”
“This poor woman didn’t have a chance to defend herself,” Ryder continued. “She didn’t have a chance to say anything. She was attacked in her home by these two individuals and brutally assaulted and choked out.”
Police responded to a call from 706 North Newbridge Rd. in Levittown and, upon arrival, discovered a 73-year-old female—later identified as Lorraine Pizzichemi—with multiple lacerations on her body. They also discovered a 24-year-old male, later determined to be Pizzichemi’s grandson, with wounds to both of his arms. Pizzichemi was pronounced dead at the scene, while her grandson—whose name has yet to be revealed by police—was taken to a nearby hospital.
According to Detective Lieutenant Stephen Fitzpatrick, Lopez and the 24-year-old victim had a history of marijuana dealings, and the homicide was carried out as an act of revenge for “some deals [that] went bad.” Though police are still unsure as to whether or not the drug deals were conducted out of the victim’s home, they determined that Lopez and Gill arrived at the house with the intent of robbing it and were fully expecting Pizzichemi to be home.
“What we have found is, the two subjects being arrested, went to that residence as a targeted event,” Fitzpatrick explained. “The grandmother being there, they were well aware of that, and if she got in the way, they were going to kill her.”
Lopez and Gill went to the house on foot and lingered until the 24-year-old male victim left the premises, at which point they entered through the rear and hid in Pizzichemi’s bedroom. When Pizzichemi entered her bedroom, she was slashed to death by the defendants, who then began searching the house for marijuana and money.
“While they were doing this, the 24-year-old male came home,” Fitzpatrick recounted. “They then attacked him as he entered the house, also cutting him and beating him. They forced him to show them into a safe, where they obtained a quantity of marijuana and currency.”
The 24-year-old male attempted unsuccessfully to call the police, “while he was being beaten and forced to do things in the house,” Fitzpatrick said, but managed to dial and hang up, which “initiated a 911 hang up response” from police. While the 24-year-old was being beaten, a 21-year-old female—who police did not identify but who was revealed to be a resident of the home—arrived at the house and called 911. The 21-year-old female was not injured.
As police arrived, Lopez and Gill fled out the back door and hopped multiple fences before eventually being arrested at Lopez’s home on Blackbird Lane in Levittown. Police recovered a handgun and several cutting instruments, including a large knife believed to be the murder weapon. Lopez and Gill are being charged with second-degree murder.
“We don’t believe there’s anybody else out there that should be in fear, but our investigation is continuing,” Fitzpatrick said. “We’re still looking into calls to the house and the history of all the people involved, but we still believe it was just a targeted event.”