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Cops find pair shot near Ridgewood cemetery

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A man reported to have a criminal record and a woman were found shot dead execution-style in a car with the motor running early last Thursday morning outside the Linden Hill Cemetery in Ridgewood, police said. No suspects have been identified or motives established for the crime,

There were unconfirmed reports that the shootings on Woodward Avenue near Willoughby Avenue may have been related to drugs or the woman’s ex-boyfriend.

“It’s a shame, you know,” said Steven Chee, 73, of Willoughby Avenue. “It’s a shame.”

Chee said he was parking his car on Woodward Avenue around 9:45 a.m. when a woman on the street alerted him to a maroon sedan by the side of the road that had its engine running and its lights and right side blinker on. Inside, a man and a woman lay slumped in the front seats. The woman on the street asked Chee if he had a cell phone to call 911.

As soon as Chee got off the phone, police had arrived.

Police said the man and woman in the car, both of whom had gunshot wounds to their heads, were 47-year-old Leonard Archipolo of Stockholm Street in Brooklyn and 23-year-old Yomarya Santiago of 55th Street in Maspeth. No arrests had been made as of Tuesday night and the investigation was ongoing, police said.

“The two people were very young, in the prime of life,” Chee said.

The New York Post reported Archipolo had eight prior arrests, including charges of rape, robbery and drugs. Archipolo and Santiago may have been an item, the newspaper said. Possible motives for the crime include a drug connection or a jealous ex-boyfriend of Santiago’s who was about to leave prison and who had begun making threats, possibly against Archipolo, the Post said. A friend of Archipolo’s told the Post that Santiago had a child by the man in prison.

A neighbor who has lived on Starr Street for 14 years said a homicide was unusual for the area.

“It’s pretty quiet,” the neighbor said. “It’s pretty nice. It’s not the greatest neighborhood, but I’ve never seen nothing like this around my house.”

Chee, who has lived in the area since 1990, said the incident made him feel unsafe.

“I feel there should be more police patrols in the neighborhood,” he said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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