Seneca County DA confirmed 48-year-old Emerson J. Tohafijian of Romulus is the suspect in the shooting that killed two and injured another in Waterloo. Tohafijian was taken into custody at the Phelps Cheerful Valley Campground Wednesday morning.

WATERLOO — The gunman who fatally shot two people and wounded a third in the Seneca County village of Waterloo this week was recently released on bail twice after two separate arrests last month, the second for an alleged rape, authorities said Thursday.

The suspect's history has raised questions and anger in the community — with the children of one of the victims being among those speaking out.

State police Capt. Barry Chase said Emerson Tohafjian, 48, of Fayette, remained in custody at a hospital and faces charges in Tuesday's late-night shooting in Waterloo.

Police said a taxi had just dropped two women off at one of their apartments around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday when they were gunned down. Police have said a man was shot and killed at the same location, but they haven't released details on the relationship between the three victims.

One of the women survived being shot and called 911, Chase said. She was treated at a hospital and released, he said.

Chase said the victims' names will be released after autopsies being conducted by the medical examiner's office in Rochester are completed. The daughter of one of the victims identified her as Lori McConnell, however.

Tohafjian's history has raised questions and anger in the community, with some blaming the justice system and investigators for not doing enough to prevent the murders. McConnell's daughter blamed a judge's decision not to issue a bench warrant for Tohafjian after he failed to make a scheduled court appearance last month.

"There could have been more done," stated daughter Lora Bennett. "The bench warrant that was supposed to be put on him ... wasn’t put on him because the judge denied it. That could have saved my mom ..."

“We have a problem with social media. Social media as in the fact that one of the victims posted where my mom was going to be," stated Matthew VanDoren, McConnell's son. "One hour and 15 minutes later my mom was dead. If you know there’s somebody looking for you don’t post where you're going to be.”

Concerned neighbors say the $10,000 bail for his June 19 arrest on the rape investigation, posted by family members, was not nearly enough.

“These other people didn't have a chance,” Joan Richardson, a friend and neighbor of the victims, said. “Ambushed them out in the bushes out there. It's not fair."

Troopers tracked down Tohafjian at a campground in nearby Phelps around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, police said. A state police SWAT team and negotiators surrounded his small tent and Tohafjian surrendered three hours later, Chase said.

Tohafjian had cut his neck and a wrist before surrendering, police said. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he was in stable condition Thursday. Troopers say he will be charged with the two murders once he's released and the grand jury will decide if he will face other charges.

"He's got an extensive criminal history," Chase said Thursday.

Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch said Tohafjian was arrested twice last month in two different local towns. The first occurred June 3 for misdemeanor charges, including assault. Porsch said the second occurred June 19, when he was charged with rape and unlawful imprisonment.

Tohafjian was released on bail after both arrests, the district attorney said. He was last released from jail on June 21, Porsch said. When Tohafjian failed to make a scheduled court appearance June 27, prosecutors requested a bench warrant be issued for his arrest, but that was denied by a judge, Porsch said.

Porsch said he couldn't confirm if either of the women was connected to the June cases because state law prohibits the names of sex crime victims from being disclosed.

Waterloo, a village of about 5,000 residents in the Finger Lakes region between Rochester and Syracuse, hasn't had a homicide in more than 20 years, according to Police Chief Jason Godley.

 

EARLIER REPORT

State Police say a suspect is in custody after two people are dead and another is injured after a shooting in Waterloo.

A man and woman were shot and killed on Virginia Street around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. A third victim was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Troopers have not released the names of the victims.

State Police say the suspect, who has also not been identified, was taken into custody without incident around 7:45 a.m. at the Cheerful Valley Campground in Phelps, about 10 miles from where the shooting took place. The suspect was found with self-inflicted cuts to his arm and neck. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy Flight.

Our news partner, News10NBC spoke to the owner of a local taxi company who says a driver dropped two women off at a home last night. The driver says the gunman ambushed them then took off. The owner says police took camera footage from the taxi to use it as part of the investigation.

Local and State Police are blocking traffic at several intersections along Virginia Street and Swift Street. People in the area were asked to stay in their homes as deputies searched for a suspect for several hours.

EARLIER:

State police say two people are dead and another is injured after a shooting in Waterloo.

A man and woman were shot and killed on Virginia Street around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. A third victim was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Troopers have not released the names of the victims.

According to a robocall from the Seneca County Sheriff's Office, deputies are looking for a white man who is 5'11" and 160 lbs. with blue eyes and blonde hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black vest and carrying a green bag. The suspect was not wearing a shirt.

Our news partner, News10NBC spoke to the owner of a local taxi company who says a driver dropped two women off at a home last night. The driver says the gunman ambushed them and then took off. The owner says police took camera footage from the taxi to use it as part of the investigation.

Local and state police are blocking traffic at several intersections along Virginia Street and Swift Street. People in the area were asked to stay in their homes as deputies searched for a suspect for several hours.

ORIGINAL:

Two people are dead after a shooting in Waterloo.

The Village of Waterloo is locked down after at least two people were shot on Virginia Street around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Local and State Police are blocking traffic at several intersections along Virginia Street and Swift Street.

Right now, people in the area are being asked to stay in their homes as deputies search for a suspect.

According to a robocall from the Seneca County Sheriff's Office, deputies are looking for a white man who is 5'11" and 160 lbs. with blue eyes and blonde hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black vest and carrying a green bag.

Messenger Post Media will continue to follow this developing story along with our news partner, News10NBC.