Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19889
Classification: Choking / Strangulation / Suffocation
Animal: marine animal (pet)
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Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013

County: Kings

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: José Santiago

A Brooklyn man angry that his longtime roommate wanted to move out turned his rage on her pet fish -- flushing one down the toilet and letting the other suffocate, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

José Santiago murdered his roommate's pet fish -- Bonnie and Clyde -- when he saw her packing her bags in their Flatbush apartment on Wednesday, she said.

"They were my babies! I can't have children, so my pets are like my kids," Brenda Alvarez said yesterday. "They were beautiful fish and cost about $25 each.

"I did everything for him, and the only thing I ever asked him to do was the laundry," she said. "So, why did he do this to me?"

Alvarez, 45, said she wanted to move out of the Nostrand Avenue apartment because of growing tension between the longtime friends, who grew up a block apart in Bay Ridge.

"I was gonna leave . . . so, I started packing, but he kept antagonizing me," Alvarez recalled. "Then he went crazy!"

Santiago allegedly roughed up Alvarez before turning on the fish.

He killed them in front of her, she said.

He flushed one down the toilet, then put another in a bag and tied it, she said.

"When I saw him kill my fish I went berserk!" Alvarez said.

Santiago, 47, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty and assault. He was released without bail at his arraignment on Thursday.

Alvarez is now haunted by the empty aquarium.

"I can tell seeing the fish tank like that really hurts her," said witness Jacqueline Cepeda, 38.

"She's always been good to her pets. It's like they come first for her. She makes sure they're fed and taken care of -- always."

Alvarez still has her 5-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Ice, for company.

Sources said Santiago told cops: "I have a mark on my head, but you're not going to do anything about it. She pushed me first and started the whole fight."


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