25 years later, fugitive returns to NYC, gets arrested for 1992 attempted murder

NEW YORK  — A man who fled the country 25 years ago while facing a prison sentence for attempted murder was arrested when he arrived at a New York City airport.

The Daily News reports Freddy Guerra was taken into custody on Tuesday night at Kennedy Airport. He had been living in the Dominican Republic and working as a mechanic.

Authorities said Guerra was 18 when he and two friends shot the owner of Willie’s Hardware and Building Supply Store in Queens on Sept. 16, 1992, stealing cash and spray paint cans. The owner, Lieb Zaban, survived being shot in the chin.

Police arrested Guerra a month later and charged him with attempted murder.

He pleaded guilty to the charge in December 1992 and was freed on $50,000 bond. He skipped a February 1993 court date and was later sentenced in absentia to six to 18 years of prison time.

Guerra was in custody at Rikers Island and is awaiting a June court date.

Zaban died in 2015 at the age of 91 and had sold the store some years after the robbery. His widow, Lea Zaban, who now lives in Pennsylvania, said, “That’s good. That’s good,” when told of Guerra’s arrest.