BEHIND THE STORY: Jeff Mansilla’s loved ones thought they’d exhale when investigators at the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office in Paramus yesterday told them they’d identified two people in the shooting death of the popular Hackensack limousine company owner on Route 80 in Saddle Brook.
There was some sense of relief after six weeks of waiting, but it was short-lived, his sister-in-law, Zeina Mansilla, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
“We thought it was going to make us all feel at ease,” she said of the arrests of Mujahideen Abdullah, 25, and Jomaris Gonzalez, 28, at their Newark apartment yesterday morning.
“But we know he’s not coming back,” Mansilla said.
“Seeing their pictures today, it made me sick to my stomach,” she added. “We are all beyond words.”
Now that arrests have been made, the family is moving ahead with a July 24 prayer vigil outside the Bergen County Courthouse, where they intend to share some of their fondest memories.
Mansilla, who planned to be married next month, was chased from a club in Belleville around 2 a.m. June 12 to the spot on eastbound Route 80 where authorities said Abdullah opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon from a silver Infiniti.
Mansilla, 39, was hit in the hip with one of three shots fired through the driver’s side door of his 2013 GMC Yukon near milepost 63.
The bullet passed through him, a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the case told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Mansilla steered off the highway, where a passenger took the wheel and drove him to Hackensack University Medical Center.
He was later pronounced dead at HUMC.
It’s unclear what type of dispute led to the shooting.
Mansilla, the oldest of four brothers who grew up in Hackensack, worked as a cab driver before launching All Access Car & Limo Company last year.
He was graduated from Holy Trinity School, and later, Bergen Technical School and Bergen County Community College. A music lover, he’d converted his father’s basement into a recording studio.
Mansilla was planning to marry his girlfriend of four years in her native Moldova in a few weeks.
Abdullah was being held on $2 million bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with murder, drug distribution, weapons possession and hindering apprehension.
Gonzalez was charged with hindering and drug distribution. Her bail was $250,000.
The New Jersey State Police Major Crime Unit cracked the case with assistance from the Belleville Police Department, as well as the Bergen and Essex County Prosecutors’ offices, authorities said.
MUGSHOTS: Courtesy NJ STATE POLICE
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