A 51-year-old man died of a gunshot wound to the chest in Cypress Hill on Sunday afternoon and a dispute over unpaid rent might have led to his death. Phillip Estevez, 63, had told neighbors that he was planning to kick his tenant, Luis Martinez, out of his basement apartment for falling three months behind on rent, which was $500 per month. Local papers are divided on whether Estevez is an “unhinged” man who came at his tenant with a gun, or if he wrestled the gun away from Martinez after he fired at him.
Both accounts suggest that the landlord was armed when he confronted his tenant. Sources tell the Daily News that Estevez came at Martinez with a pipe, and then the tenant pulled out a gun. Martinez fired but missed, and Estevez managed to wrestle the gun away, then shot back.
In the Post’s version, Martinez died defending his sister Anna Rodriguez and her two children, who also live in the house. Supposedly Estevez started “pummeling” the woman over $100 in unpaid rent, but she managed to break free. When Martinez confronted Estevez, the landlord pulled a gun and “finished the job seconds later, by wresting Martinez to the ground, standing over his body and coldly firing execution-style shots into his head and chest.” Then Estevez allegedly went upstairs and tried to fire at Rodriguez and her children, but nothing happened when he pulled the trigger. Her 12-year-old son reportedly jumped out of a window and ran to a local precinct while her 10-year-old daughter clobbered Estevez with a two-by-four.
Both versions have the same ending: Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene and Estevez was taken from the house in handcuffs, with blood on his face.