Pennsylvania triple murder suspect named person of interest in murder of Rochester seventh grader

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A teenager who was arrested for a triple murder in Pennsylvania is also a person of interest in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Juan Lopez in Rochester last November.

James Fernandez-Reyes, 16, was one of two people arrested for the fatal shooting of two children, ages 8 and 9, and a 19-year-old man in Lebanon County, Pa. Police say it happened on May 30 after an argument with the man as the two kids were playing with kittens outside.

When Fernandez-Reyes was arrested in Pennsylvania, he had an active warrant in Rochester for illegal gun possession. Rochester Police said he was arrested in Rochester for an illegal handgun last September, received an appearance ticket, but ended up fleeing the area.

RPD confirmed with News10NBC that Fernandez-Reyes is also a person of interest in the murder of Lopez, a seventh grader at Benjamin Franklin Education Campus. He and another teen, who survived, were shot while walking on Atkinson Street. Lopez was found dead on the sidewalk. 

News 10 NBC spoke with grieving family and friends back in November.

“People are just broken, praying to God to everything,” said Gabriany Mendoza, a classmate of his. “He made people very happy, made them laugh every single time, no matter who person, he would always try his best to make them happy.”

Bishop Jeffrey Melvin said the shooting happened right outside his church near Atkinson and Reynolds Street.

“I got a call from Sabrina Lamar, the county legislator president, who said, ‘You need to get by your church right now, there’s been a double shooting.’ She said a 12-year-old may have gotten murdered,” said Melvin. “It was just horrific. It was taped off, and we got the news.”

“One assault, one murder is one too many,” said Melvin. “We are fighting, praying, meeting and going to schools, talking with parents doing all that we can.”

“Our Major Crimes Unit has been tirelessly investigating Lopez’ murder and is currently coordinating with Law Enforcement Officials in Lebanon in hopes of furthering that investigation,” said a statement from RPD.

Lopez’s social studies teacher, who delivered his eulogy, described the boy as someone with a bright mind and an infectious personality.

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