Police working tips in banker’s slaying
Spagnoletti, 56, was gunned down behind the wheel of his Lexus as he drove home to Condado Wednesday evening in rush-hour traffic along the busy De Diego Expressway.
Police Superintendent José Figueroa Sancha said Friday the posting of a $50,000 reward for information leading to the solving of the case has generated various tips. Investigators, after initially hitting a wall in their attempts to locate witnesses, have confirmed that the victim was targeted by gunmen firing from another automobile, not from a motorcycle.
The FBI is aiding a Police Department task force in the investigation into the brazen slaying of the Doral Bank executive vice president, who had moved to the island to join the San Juan-based bank just six months ago.
“This is a killing that we must solve in the next few hours,” Figueroa Sancha said.
Authorities believe the gunmen followed Spagnolleti from Doral Bank headquarters on Roosevelt Avenue, trailing him down De Diego Avenue and onto the De Diego Expressway before opening fire on the bridge over the Martín Peña Channel near the entrance to the Minillas Tunnel at around 7:20 p.m. Spagnoletti veered onto the Muñoz Rivera exit and stopped in the grass along the shoulder, dead with gunshot wounds to the neck and head.
Police said the married father of a five-year-old daughter was headed home to Condado to celebrate his wife’s birthday when he was targeted in what police say appeared to have been a professionally orchestrated attack.
“The shots were very well placed,” said Cmdr. Orlando Meléndez, chief of the Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Corps in San Juan.
Spagnoletti was tapped as Doral Bank executive vice president this year. He previously served as president Carolina First Bank, a South Carolina subsidiary of South Financial Group Inc., from April 2006 to June 2008. He also served stints as president of Fifth Third Bank in Indiana and regional president and executive director of Summit Bank in Pennsylvania.
Police requested assistance from the FBI and they are investigating jointly, FBI spokesman Harry Rodríguez said.
Among the early angles of the investigation, detectives asked Doral Bank security for a list of employees who were laid off under a restructuring effort spearheaded by Spagnoletti. By Friday, investigators indicated that ex-employees were not the focus of the probe. There was also speculation that the killing could be tied to a federal audit of Doral Bank, a possibility that bank officials quickly rejected as “totally false.”
Doral Bank has struggled in recent years and has been restructuring its operations
Spagnoletti earned his bachelor’s degree at St. Peter’s College and master’s of business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University and the Consumer Bankers Association’s Graduate School of Banking at the University of Virginia.