A gunman who shot and killed City Island construction worker Lizbeth Mass before Mass’ boyfriend ran him down in his car was sentenced Friday to 25 years to life for the murder.
Jose Reyes, 69, thought something romantic was brewing between him and Mass, whom he saw waving a flag every day at a construction site near City Island Ave. and City Island Road in the Bronx, prosecutors said.
The victim was part of a work crew replacing a water main.
But when Mass showed up to work one day with her boyfriend, Reyes snapped.
“The defendant shot the victim, Lizbeth Mass, three times in the middle of her shift during a fit of jealous rage,” said Bronx DA Darcel Clark. “Lizbeth was beloved in her community and was senselessly killed. After a 15-day trial, the jury reached a guilty verdict, and the defendant will now spend decades behind bars for the death of a working mother.”
Officials and the construction site crew said Reyes, a local handyman, often brought lunch to Mass, 52, at the job site.
But on April 14, 2021, when he saw her there with her boyfriend and realized that she was in a relationship, he became enraged, officials said.
Cops said Reyes left the site, and returned on a bicycle — with a gun reported stolen from a nearby home.
Surveillance video obtained by the Daily News showed a woman sitting on the sidewalk with her legs outstretched and being approached by a man with a bike.
After he lays down the bike, he can be seen walking toward her as she gets up and runs away.
Cops said the gunman exchanged words with the victim before he started shooting. Video showed Mass falling to the ground after Reyes shot her.
Cops said she was shot six times. A .44 Smith & Wesson was recovered at the scene.
Among the shooting witnesses was Mass’ boyfriend, Dwayne Walker.
Reyes fled on a bicycle — and Walker immediately chased him in his Hyundai Sonata.
Just feet from the shooting scene, Walker’s Hyundai struck Reyes and his bicycle. The impact forced Reyes off his bicycle and flying over the car’s hood, the video shows.
The car rolled backwards as Walker jumped out.
As Reyes got on his feet, Walker grabbed him and began to pummel him, stopping only when bystanders rushed to the scene.
“She befriended him. She mentioned him. She said this guy would bring her lunch sometimes,” Walker told the Daily News at the time of Mass’ death. “I spoke to this guy and he seemed OK.”
But when Reyes learned that Mass and Walker were involved, his whole demeanor changed.
“He just exploded,” Walker said.
Cops said there was no romantic relationship between Mass and her killer. But Mass’ family said Reyes believed something different.
“When my sister presented her boyfriend to him he changed his look,” Raul Mass, Lizbeth’s brother, said shortly after the shooting. “I think he didn’t know she had a boyfriend.”
A Bronx jury found Reyes guilty of second-degree murder in January after a 15-day trial.
At a hearing Friday, Bronx Supreme Court Judge Margaret Clancy sentenced Reyes to 25 years to life on the murder charge, and 15 years on a criminal possession of a weapon charge.
The sentences will run concurrently.
Reyes was also sentenced to five years of post-release supervision.
Mass, a construction flagger, was affectionately known as the “mayor of City Island” for her outgoing demeanor and her friendly disposition. Locals said she always had kind words for motorists and pedestrians.
“She was beautiful,” Walker told the Daily News at the time of Mass’ death. “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.”