THE BRONX — The NYPD Warrant Squad tracked down the second suspect wanted in the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old dad in the Bronx on Wednesday.
Michael Rodriguez was picked up in the Bronx on a murder warrant for the June 19 shooting of Jose Velez.
The point-blank shooting was witnessed by Velez’ fiancée, Bridgette Ortiz, who is the mother of the victim’s 2-year-old daughter Adelyn.
Ortiz said her fiancé was set up by Rodriguez’ brother Thomas Bowles who had waved over the couple’s car June 19, moments before the shooting.
Ortiz said she and Velez were driving to work when Bowles stopped the car and got into an argument with Velez. Ortiz said Bowles got on the phone and said, “Jay’s here.”
Soon after, Ortiz said, Michael Rodriguez showed up at the corner of Van Nest Avenue with a gun and said, “Yo, Jay,” before firing a .22-caliber bullet into Velez’s chest.
Velez tried to drive away but smashed his Honda into several parked cars.
“When he was in my arms, gasping for air, he was just basically choking on his own blood,” Bridgette Ortiz told PIX11 several weeks ago.
The young mom and her relatives had launched an Instagram campaign to find Michael Rodriguez, because he was the suspected shooter. Thomas Bowles was apprehended in a South Carolina trailer over the summer.
Ortiz received multiple threats on Instagram from people hiding behind anonymous accounts that used her father’s home address upstate and another family address in Florida.
Ortiz showed PIX11 the threats and notified the police about them.
“We got hittas out here, too,” one threat said. “Keep it G and keep it quiet.”
Ortiz said the warning meant, “Keep it gangster. Basically, don’t talk.”
Despite the threats, Ortiz and her family kept posting the wanted photo of Michael Rodriguez and showed up at all the court hearings for Thomas Bowles.
PIX11 reached Bridgette Ortiz Wednesday, shortly after an NYPD officer notified her that Rodriguez was caught.
“He showed me a picture of him (Rodriguez) in cuffs,” Ortiz told PIX11. “I was so happy, I hugged (the officer).”
“My dream came true. I had a dream they were going to get caught and they both got caught. All I can say is, ‘I hope Jose’s life was worth theirs.’”