Officer Gary Stymiloski was 27 years old and engaged to be married when he stopped a car for a routine traffic violation on the evening of February 24, 1985. The driver, a Guyanese-born Bronx resident named Alex Mengel, was returning with friends from a hunting weekend in the Catskills.
Mengel had only been arrested once, for assaulting his ex-wife in 1984, but his friends told police that, without reason or provocation, he walked up to Stymoliski and shot the cop in the head. Mengel’s companions fled the scene, and Mengel drove the patrol car a few blocks, abandoning it with the dying patrolman inside.
The following day, Beverly Capone disappeared after leaving work. Two days later, a 13-year-old girl near Syracuse ran from a man attempting to abduct her. She told police the man was wearing lipstick and a wig.
Finally, on March 2, Mengel was arrested in Canada after leading a high-speed chase in Capone’s car. Items found in the car included: women’s clothing, four knives, two guns, and Beverly Capone’s scalp. Her body was discovered after a 2-week search of the Catskills.
Mengel was deported from Canada and arraigned on murder charges. While returning to Westchester from Greene County, Mengel struggled with the officer sitting beside him in an attempt to get his gun. The officer who was driving shot him. Alex Mengel was pronounced dead at 3:38 p.m. on April 26, barely two months after a routine traffic stop that became anything but.