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Thread: Man (Ronnie Massaro, 39) killed in random Midtown attack was fighting for a better life; checked out of rehab and not even 12 hours later, he was gone

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    Man (Ronnie Massaro, 39) killed in random Midtown attack was fighting for a better life; checked out of rehab and not even 12 hours later, he was gone

    A man brutally slain in an apparent random Midtown knife attack was struggling to build a better life, battling alcoholism in the wake of his older sister's suicide, his childhood best friend told the Daily News Monday.

    Ronnie Massaro, 39, was fatally stabbed about 9:15 p.m. Nov. 21 outside 2 Bros. Pizza at the intersection of Eighth Ave. and W. 38th St., according to authorities. Police were searching for a suspect seen fleeing uptown after the bloodshed.

    Dealing with crippling grief over his sister Ashley's suicide death in 2019, Massaro had checked out of a rehab facility in Riverhead, L.I., just hours before the knife-wielding assailant attacked, Massaro's friend Keith Hanlon told The News.

    'He got out of rehab and got on the train. And that was it. Out of a program and on the train, and not even 12 hours later, he was gone,' said Hanlon, 38.

    Hanlon said his old friend called him after hopping on the Long Island Railroad ' and that he noticed a new sense of closure in Massaro's voice. He sounded 'uplifted and so ready,' Hanlon said.

    'He was ready to live life. Since his sister's passing, I'd never noticed him have this voice. Something hit him. I really believe he started to accept things and understand what life was about,' Hanlon said.

    ''It finally hit me, and I'm ready. I can do this. We can do this together.' Those were his exact words,' Hanlon recounted tearfully.

    'I lost him in the Midtown tunnel. His last words were, 'I'm about to hit the Midtown tunnel, I'll call you.''

    Approximately 45 minutes before he was slain, Massaro tried to call Hanlon again. Hanlon missed the call.

    'I had my phone on battery saver, and I missed a FaceTime at 8:30 [p.m.], 8:29. And I feel guilty, because I feel like if I'd gotten him on FaceTime, he could have stopped for a few seconds. A few seconds could have changed everything,' Hanlon said.

    In a heartfelt post published to Moloney Funeral Home's website, Massaro's girlfriend Carly Marie Delvalle posted a photo of the young couple looking happy and relaxed in front of the ocean. She described Massaro as a charismatic and sensitive soul.

    'His compassion for people was so strong that he hurt when others did. He was brilliant, the stories and history lessons he taught me made me love him even more. Ronnie was artistic, stylish, and could create anything from a scrap piece of wood or metal,' Delvalle wrote.

    'He has an amazing family so loving and welcomed me and my daughter with love and grace.'

    Another close friend of the victim's, Doreen Apicella-Marrero, lamented the Massaro family now have two children to grieve.

    'This is a horrible time for his family,' she said. 'After his sister passed he had it hard adjusting emotionally.'

    Apicella-Marrero and Hanlon believe Massaro was a stranger to his killer.

    'He must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time,' Apicella-Marrero said.

    Rick Doust, 56, a neighbor of the victim's family, learned about Massaro's killing Monday.

    'I can't believe what you're telling me right now,' he told The News. 'They're such nice people. I'm so sorry that their family has had so many troubles. I don't know what brings it to them.'

    A former model with experience working in healthcare, the handsome Massaro was working in fashion around the time of his death. Hanlon said he was working with a clothes designer in Georgia and hoped one day to start his own brand or business.

    'He was really handy with his hands. Artwork, bead work. He had a sewing machine in his room. That was his release,' Hanlon said. 'He took a lot of pride in how he looked and how he felt.'

    Outside of his professional pursuits, Massaro, of Smithtown, N.Y., was a great support to his parents and a doting uncle to his niece, his friends said.

    'He took care of his father and was a huge role model for his niece,' Hanlon said, noting Massaro had done beautiful renovations around his parents' house. 'He was just a great guy.'

    In Massaro's honor, Hanlon said he would push forward in his own sobriety. The two had plans to start attending a men's church group together.

    'I have no desire to pick up,' he said. 'I'm doing it for Ronnie, because we were gonna do it together.'
    Last edited by up2trouble; 12-13-2020 at 04:13 PM.

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    Family reveals Midtown stabbing victim was younger brother of late pro-wrestler Ashley Massaro: ‘They were very close’

    Sister -

    A man killed in a random Midtown stabbing was mourning the death of his older sister — a prominent pro-wrestler who ended her own life last year at the same age, the victim’s family told the Daily News Tuesday.

    Ronnie Massaro, 39, was mortally wounded Nov. 21 in a seemingly random attack outside 2 Bros Pizza on the intersection of Eighth Ave. and W. 38th St., according to authorities. A day later, Lawrence Downey, 59, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, court filings show. He was held without bail.

    Manhattan prosecutors said Downey, clad in a black hooded sweatshirt and multi-colored checkered pajama pants, was caught on CCTV stabbing Massaro before fleeing the scene. The motive is still a mystery.

    According to friends and family of Massaro, he’d been in a deep state of grief after his older sister, Ashley, who was well-regarded in the world of professional wrestling, took her own life in May 2019 — three years after going public with allegations of a brutal sexual assault while she was working for the WWE.

    Both Ashley and Ronnie died at age 39.

    Ashley’s daughter, Alexa Massaro, told The News her uncle took her mother’s death especially hard.

    “They were very close,” Alexa said. “They spent a lot of time together, so it was really hard-hitting.”

    Ashley Massaro joined the WWE on a one-year contract after emerging the champion among eight finalists in the WWE Raw Diva Search. Her memorable events with the WWE included taking part in Wrestlemania in both 2007 and 2008.

    In addition to her wrestling career, she made several appearances in TV series and music videos, notably landing a small gig on the show “Smallville” in 2007, and competing on the reality show “Survivor” that same year.

    Ashley — a radio host and Playboy cover girl as well — was one of 60 WWE employees who filed a class-action negligence lawsuit against the pro-wrestling entertainment company in 2016, court filings show.

    The superstar entertainer said she suffered numerous injuries on the job due to a lack of adequate training, such as multiple concussions, a fractured spine, and herniated discs.

    More disturbingly, Ashley claimed WWE tried to silence her after she came forward with allegations she was drugged and sexually assaulted during a Middle East tour in 2006. She said the attack happened inside a U.S. military base, Sportscasting reported.

    In an interview with The News on Tuesday, Alexa described her beloved uncle as an exceptionally creative person who created magic with his hands.

    “He was such a talented person, and I’m not just saying that because he was my uncle,” she said.

    “He built a whole shed, he beaded beautiful rosaries, he made music, he sewed complete outfits for himself. He built a whole jewelry box . . . I look around my room and I can’t describe to you the amount of things I see that he made.”

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    Senior Member Angiebla's Avatar
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    I feel sorry for their poor parents

    "The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man" -Charles Darwin

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    Senior Member KimTisha's Avatar
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    This is really sad, it sounds like he was a talented and sensitive soul. I wonder what his life was like before his sister's suicide? Did he have substance abuse problems that were exacerbated by her death, or was her death the trigger?

    Rest in peace, Ronnie...
    You are talking to a woman who has laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom and chuckled at catastrophe.
    ...Collector of Chairs. Reader of Books. Hater of Nutmeg...

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