Arrest made in 2015 7-Eleven arson and homicide

Posted at 7:53 PM, Apr 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-06 19:06:55-04

PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- Punta Gorda police announced at a press conference Tuesday night an arrest in the 7-Eleven homicide investigation. 

28-year-old Michael Russo of the 2100 block of Deborah Drive was arrested on charges of murder and arson on Tuesday. 

Evidence supports the claim that Russo is the sole person responsible for the crime, according to Punta Gorda Police Department. 

A search warrant was served at his home a week after the crime happened. 

Russo had previously trespassed the 7-Eleven in August 30 and September 15 of 2015. 

18-year-old Kyle Farishian's body was found in the fire-damaged 7-Eleven off Bal Harbor Boulevard and Alqui Esta Drive on November 1, 2015.  

Russo will have his first appearance Wednesday morning. 

In a statement Tuesday, Chief Thomas Lewis stated, “This crime devastated a family and shocked our community. Although this arrest will not bring Kyle back, we hope that the family can now begin the healing process."

Neighbors have been wondering why someone would do this to a boy who had no criminal record and was seemingly innocent.  The answer in the arrest affidavit reveals a co-worker of Farishian's told police that Russo came into the store a few says before trying to buy alcohol without an ID.  And when that coworker refused to sell it to him, he became belligerent and was tossed from the store because of it.

"I would love to tell you that we're feeling happy. The unfortunate thing is that I can't say that. There's a lot of work left to do in the case. We want to make sure that it's solid as far as prosecution is concerned. We are certainly happy that this particular person is behind bars where he belongs," says Chief Lewis.

According to police, surveillance video from the store shows that a man, later identified as Russo, entered the store at 3:11 AM on November 1st while carrying a revolver and a gas can.  He approached Farishian, who was working alone in the store at the time, in one of the store's aisles.  He wordlessly approached Farishian and fired one shot at him, which knocked him to the floor.  Russo stood over the clerk and fired another shot into him.

Russo then poured the contents of the can over Farishian and used a lighter from a store display to light the fire.  He then fled the store without taking any money or merchandise with him.

Minutes later, a witness arrived to find the store on fire and called it in to fire fighters.  The fire was extinguished by fire fighters at 3:25 AM.

The arrest affidavit released Tuesday also reveals that Russo does have a violent history, even attacking his own father with a knife and hatchet when he was younger.