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Suspect in Waterloo homicides arrested twice for domestic violence in June

According to police, Emerson Tohafjian, 48, shot three people on Virginia Street around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. (Photo: Seneca County Sheriff's Office)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - State Police say they arrested a Romulus man for fatally shooting a man and woman in Waterloo late Tuesday night.

According to police, Emerson Tohafjian, 48, shot three people on Virginia Street around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Officers responded and found a man and woman dead, as well as a third person who was injured. State Police said they were not releasing the identities of the victims until the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office completed their autopsies.

Police developed information during the overnight and early morning hours on Wednesday that Tohafijan was the suspect in the homicides and was at a campground in Phelps.

Tohafijan was taken into custody later Wednesday morning at the Cheerful Valley Campground in Phelps. Troopers said he had self-inflicted cuts on his neck and wrist, and was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital to be treated for them.

On June 3, Tohafijan was arrested on four misdemeanor charges and had his bail set at $500 cash or $1,000 bond. He posted bail and was released. On June 19, he was arrested again, this time charged with first-degree rape and several other crimes. Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch said a judge set bail at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond and issued a stay away order of protection for the victim. He was booked in the Seneca County Jail. Two days later, family members posted bail for him.

A second order of protection was issued by Seneca County Family Court after his release.

Tohafijan was given an appearance ticket for the June 3 charges to appear on June 27. He did not show up, at which time the Seneca County District Attorney's Office requested a bench warrant and an additional $10,000 bail. The judge refused the request.

Troopers would not disclose if any of the victims in this investigation had any relationship with the suspect.

A grand jury will determine any additional charges to be filed against Tohafijan.

State Police are asking any businesses owners or people who live in the village of Waterloo to share footage from any surveillance cameras they might have. The time frame for any footage would be on July 10, 2018, from 10:30 p.m. – midnight. Anyone with such footage is asked to call the State Police at (315)-539-3530.

William Morrison, a former neighbor of Tohafjian, says he was surprised by the news.

"I was shocked," he said. "I was just absolutely shocked."

He added, "I didn't realize he had a temper like that."

Morrison said the woman killed Tuesday night used to live with the defendant. He met them as a couple.

"I figured they would fight and call it at that, but you just never thought something like this would happen - not in a million years," said Morrison.

A friend of both Tohafjian and the woman killed, who did not want to be identified, said the woman told her Tohafjian had threatened her before.

"He said it before; she was afraid," said the friend.

"She couldn't get away from the guy," the friend also said. "She tried, but he just kept coming and coming."

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