BREAKING: Suspect arrested in the Pelham Gardens murder of 91-year-old man

The Pelham Gardens home where 91-year-old Nicholo Rappa was murdered. The suspect, 32-year-old Luis Bonilla, was apprehended by police on the morning of Aug. 9, 2021.
Photo Jason Cohen

A 32-year-old man was been arrested on Tuesday in connection with the death of 91-year-old Nicholo Rappa during the robbery of his garage in the Pelham Gardens section.

The suspect, Luis Bonilla, was apprehended by police on Monday and is being charged with four counts of murder, manslaughter, robbery and assault. The NYPD’s 49th Precinct declined to release any further information on the details of his arrest.

On Aug. 3, at 12:30 p.m., police received a 911 call of a robbery at 2400 Wickham Ave. Upon arrival, they discovered Rappa tied up by extension cords with head and face trauma. Rappa was unconscious and pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

Authorities say Bonilla has “multiple” prior arrests and has no prior connection to Rappa. According to state Department of Corrections records, Bonilla was sentenced to state prison in 2018 for attempted robbery in the first degree, a felony. He was released on Jan. 19, 2021, on a conditional parole.

Bonilla, the alleged killer, had posed as a utility worker, according to police reports and surveillance video that was released on Tuesday.

On Aug. 5, the NYPD announced a combined reward of as much as $10,000 for information pertaining to the incident. On Aug. 7, a candlelight vigil in front of Rappa’s house where the community came together to post signs of support and mourn the loss of the resident who was well-known in the neighborhood.

-with reporting by Jason Cohen

Reach Robbie Sequeira at or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter @bronxtimes and Facebook @bronxtimes.

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