Updated, 3:05 p.m. | The suspect in a double murder at a Bronx motel took his own life as the police cornered him in a Florida apartment building late Tuesday night, the authorities said.
United States marshals and detectives from the New York Police Department tracked the suspect, Joseph Kernizan, 42, to an area north of Miami where he had fled after killing Tracy Bennett, who had been his longtime lover, and Wayne Hamilton, a reggae singer, in a hail of bullets at the Holiday Motel on Saturday, Deputy Barry Golden of the United States Marshals Service said.
At least 20 officers, detectives and federal marshals late Tuesday night surrounded a ground-floor rental apartment of a friend of Mr. Kernizan in an
unincorporated section of Miami-Dade County just north of the city, Deputy Golden said in a telephone interview on
The authorities trained lights on the two-story building before using a loudspeaker to order those inside to come out, Deputy Golden said.
Mr. Kernizan looked out the front blinds and then tried to leave through the back, he said.
Soon, Mr. Kernizan’s friend left the building, and once the friend was outside, “that’s when we heard shots,” Deputy Golden said. A robot with a camera entered the apartment building and “discovered a body and a weapon on the floor,” he said. Mr. Kernizan had fired at least three shots with a handgun to kill himself, he said. There were no other injuries reported.
The police also found two other handguns and two loaded assault rifles in the apartment, Deputy Golden said. It was not immediately clear to
whom the weapons belonged.
The New York Police Department declined on Wednesday to provide details of the deadly encounter, saying that the body had not yet been positively identified as Mr. Kernizan’s.
The authorities had named Mr. Kernizan, a music promoter, as the prime suspect in the killing of Mr. Hamilton, 50, a musician from Milwaukee, and Ms. Bennett, 38, who lived on Long Island.
The two victims appeared to be companions, friends said.
Although the police have not provided a motive for their killing, Deputy Golden said Mr. Kernizan and Ms. Bennett had two children
together and had been in a long-term relationship.
But that relationship appeared to have soured at some point before the killing. “She had a restraining order” against him, Deputy Golden
Mr. Hamilton, who performed as Captain Barkey, recorded a song in 2010 titled “Nah Lef Joe” that described a woman cheating and that appeared to taunt Mr. Kernizan.