A spokesperson for the family of a Derby man who was killed by a suspect during a multi-state crime spree is talking about how they want him remembered.
Police said 23-year-old Nicholas Eisele was found dead in Derby of an apparent gunshot wound Sunday morning. Investigators believe he was killed by an acquaintance, 23-year-old Peter Manfredonia, though a motive for the crime remains unclear. Manfredonia is also accused in an attack that killed Willington resident Ted DeMers, a home invasion and an abduction.
Manfredonia was captured in Maryland on Wednesday. Thursday, a spokesperson for Eisele's family said they were relieved Manfredonia is in custody.
“This was obviously someone that was extremely dangerous. We believe had killed twice before and could hurt someone again. So they were relieved no one else was injured, including the law enforcement that was chasing an armed and probably desperate man, a very dangerous job," family spokesperson Gene Zingaro said.
Zingaro said Eisele was a "quirky, happy young guy" and very family-oriented. The family believes the 23-year-old died as a hero trying to protect his girlfriend who was later abducted.
“He liked abstract art, music. He was an avid gardener. And he had started to work with his father. His father has an irrigation business. Nick had warned his father that he had planned on taking over the business at some point in the near future," Zingaro said.
According to an obituary published in the Newtown Bee, Eisele was born in Stamford and the family moved to Sandy Hook when he was 5, where he grew up alongside a twin brother and two sisters. Zingaro said more recently, he was living in Derby with his girlfriend.
“Nick had finally gained his independence. He was living with a girl that he loved for a couple of years and they were living in Derby, living on their own and making their life as two young people in love. That’s how we remember Nick," Zingaro said.
Zingaro said while the family was elated to see Manfredonia captured, they need justice before they can begin healing from their loss.
“In the family’s opinion the healing process will not begin until the successful prosecution of Peter Manfredonia for these two murders and other crimes, a just sentence and denial in any and all appeals. And only then will this family be able to start the healing process.”