Lizbeth Mass, 52, was known as "the mayor of City Island"

By KC Baker
April 16, 2021 03:48 PM
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Lizbeth Mass
Lizbeth Mass
| Credit: Photography by Ron Terner

A New York woman known as "the mayor of City Island," where she worked for years as a construction flagger, was fatally shot Wednesday in broad daylight at a Bronx construction site.

The shocking ordeal began at 12:29 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of City Island Avenue and City Island Road on City Island, a quaint enclave in Long Island Sound just off the Bronx coast, when police were called to a 911 call about an assault in progress, the NYPD says in a statement.

Surveillance video obtained by the New York Daily News partially shows a woman believed to be Lizbeth Mass, 52, sitting on the sidewalk with her legs outstretched and being approached by a man believed to be the suspect, Jose Everaldo Reyes, 66, of the Bronx.

After laying down his bike, he can be seen walking toward her as she gets up and runs away – falling to the ground after he apparently shoots her.

Lizbeth Mass
Scene where Lizbeth Mass was shot
| Credit: Pix 11

She was shot six times, say police.

Seconds later, the suspect gets back on his bike and is seen flying up into the air after being struck by a Hyundai Sonata.

As Reyes struggles to get up, the Hyundai rolls by him in reverse — by then with the driver apparently having exited — and hits a pole.

Mass's boyfriend, Dwayne Walker, 58, who was allegedly behind the wheel of the Hyundai when it first struck Reyes, can then be seen grabbing Reyes and throwing him onto the hood of the car, punching him repeatedly.

After bystanders intervene, Walker races over to Mass, trying to help her as she lays bleeding on the sidewalk from the gunshot wounds.

Mass was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead, the NYPD says in a statement.

"She was beautiful," Walker told the Daily News Thursday night. "She was everybody's person, everybody's friend. She was the one at the party who got everybody dancing. Everywhere she went, she drew a crowd."

Bystanders held onto Reyes until an IRS agent who was in the area arrested him, ABC 7 reports.

Reyes was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.

On Thursday, Reyes was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, criminal use of a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon, the NYPD tells PEOPLE in an email.

It was not immediately clear if he had entered a plea or retained an attorney to comment on his behalf.

In a press conference about the shooting, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said local residents had described Mass as "sort of the mayor of City Island, always a friendly face, always waving 'Hi' to passersby, has kind words for motorists as they go by in traffic."

Reyes, he said, worked as a handyman in the area and "frequently" came by the construction site on his bike.

"She always has a friendly smile for him, talks to him," he said.

"Yesterday he stops by. He brings a sandwich to her. They have some sort of discussion which we don't know about."

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"We don't know what triggered him," Essig said.

Unrequited Love?

Essig said investigators believe "there was no relationship" between Mass and Reyes and are still trying to determine Reyes' alleged motive.

Walker told the Daily News that Mass was friendly to everyone, including Reyes. "She befriended him," he told the paper. "She said this guy would bring her lunch sometimes."

Walker told the paper that on Wednesday, just before the alleged shooting, Mass introduced Reyes to him.

"I spoke to this guy and he seemed OK," said Walker.

Lizbeth's brother, Raul Mass, said Reyes allegedly grew enraged when he learned that she had a boyfriend, he told the Daily News.

"When my sister presented her boyfriend to him, he changed his look," said Raul. "I think he didn't know she had a boyfriend," said Mass.

"He just exploded," said Walker.

Walker has not been charged.

As police continue to investigate, Lizbeth's loved ones are mourning her loss.

"She didn't deserve this," Walker told the Daily News. "Nobody deserves this."