The prime suspect in the Maspeth hit-and-run accident that killed Gibbons on the morning of October 15 was arrested Tuesday.
Peter Rodriguez, 36, was taken into custody in Connecticut by the Regional Fugitive Task Force. Investigators have been searching for Rodriguez since the accident, which occurred as Gibbons was on his way home from a neighborhood bar he owned.
A police spokeswoman said Rodriquez will not be charged with a crime until his return to New York City sometime this week.
“We are elated about the capturing of Peter Rodriguez on the exact one month anniversary of George's passing,” said George's sister, Bernadette Gibbons.
The arrest should begin to bring about some closure for Bernadette Gibbons and the rest of the Gibbons family, who never let up the pressure to track down Rodriguez.
“Georgie can finally go on to rest in peace with our mother and we can begin to mourn with some peace of mind,” said Gibbons.
As recently as this past Sunday, the family was joined by friends of George Gibbons to hand out fliers bearing Rodriguez’s face and the promise of a $10,000 reward – money raised from community donations - for information leading to his capture.
“We believe that Peter was still in the area, and as a result of the media attention and virility of the wanted posters that were spread across the five boroughs, that Peter grew fearful and decided to run,” said Gibbons. “We are so relieved that he was caught.”
At last Sunday's event, friends and family wore “Justice for George” t-shirts, including Kristin Healy, a Middle Village resident and friend of Gibbons.
“Everyone knew him from everywhere, whether from DJing or bartending,” she said. “He was just awesome. He would just go out of his way for you.”
Eileen Baxter, friends with Gibbons for 15 years and a Woodside resident, said she was there to show support for the Gibbons family.
“It’s what I would expect from this community,” said Baxter regarding the turnout Sunday. “I mean, this is just devastating. What happened, it’s such a tragedy.”
Baxter was not the only one who expected the overwhelming response from supporters. Gibbons said her brother worshiped the Maspeth community, and she was glad in turn that he was granted the same support when his family needed it the most.
“I don’t even have words to express the gratitude I have towards our friends and family and the community,” she said. “We feel that without the unending support, we would not have been so successful in our Justice for George campaign.”