A Port Jefferson man was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison for the 2018 fatal shooting of another man after an argument.
On July 22, 2018, Alejandro Vargas-Diaz, 41, and Albert Luis Rodriguez-Lopez, 27, got into an argument inside a pool hall in Port Jefferson. During the argument, the victim punched Vargas-Diaz in the face, knocking him to the ground. A short time later, Vargas-Diaz ambushed Rodriguez-Lopez inside the pool hall, and shot the victim in the back, neck, and shoulder. Rodriguez-Lopez, a father of three and resident of Selden, died at the scene. Vargas-Diaz immediately fled and absconded from New York state.
One month after the murder, members of Suffolk County Police Department found the murder weapon, a 9-millimeter pistol, hidden in a tree at the Setauket Port Jefferson Greenway Trail.
On June 18, 2021, nearly three years after the fatal shooting, Vargas-Diaz was arrested by members of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in Florida after a tip to Crime Stoppers. Vargas-Diaz was extradited back to Suffolk County on November 11, 2021, to be arraigned on the charges related to the murder.
On July 24, 2023, Vargas-Diaz pleaded guilty before Acting Supreme Court Judge Steven A. Pilewski, to second-degree murder, a Class A violent felony, and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, a Class C violent felony. On October 11, 2023, Pilewski sentenced Vargas-Diaz to 23 years to life in prison followed by five years of post-release supervision.
“This sentence should be a warning to all those who think they could escape responsibility for murder simply by fleeing the jurisdiction,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney. “Law enforcement in Suffolk County does not forget. Your crimes will catch up to you and you will be held responsible for your actions. This defendant’s prison sentence attests to that.”