Solving Karina Vetrano’s slaying started with a 911 call about a “suspicious person” in Howard Beach, Queens — and ended with a dogged cop from the neighborhood who was determined to track down her killer.
NYPD Lt. John Russo was singled out Sunday morning by Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce as a “key player” in identifying Chanel Lewis as the prime suspect.
Boyce said Lewis was first identified based on a “deep-dive’’ follow-up into a 911 call from May 2016, about three months before Vetrano was fatally attacked.
Russo, a married dad of two girls under the age of 14, had heard about that 911 call at the time and drove by the area while off-duty the next day, according to sources.
He spotted Lewis, who sources said was either prowling in back yards or casing parked cars, in the area. Russo immediately called it in, ensuring that cops interviewed Lewis and recorded his personal information, sources said.
Last week, Russo then reminded the detectives investigating Vetrano’s slaying about the incident, leading to a Thursday interview, during which Lewis “freely gave a swab” of DNA to the investigators, Boyce said.
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