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Florida doctor arrested in 2019 fatal shooting of Boston truck driver in Vermont

A Florida doctor was arrested Thursday, more than two years after he allegedly shot and killed a 44-year-old Boston truck driver who was transporting produce in Rockingham, Vt., police said.

Dr. Jozsef X. Piri, of Naples, Fla., was living in Connecticut when he killed Roberto Fonseca-Rivera, whose body was found behind the wheel of the truck he was driving for Katsiroubas Produce on Nov. 1, 2019, Vermont State Police said.

Piri, 49, is charged with second-degree murder. A native of Romania, he is a licensed internist in Florida and Connecticut, according to state medical records.

Ted Katsiroubas, chief executive officer of the family-owned company based in Hyde Park, applauded the arrest and recalled Fonseca-Rivera as a “good man.”

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“We are pleased that a suspect has been identified two years after the horrific killing of Roberto, a good man just doing his job driving down the highway,” he said in a statement. “We are gratified that Vermont state police stayed on this difficult investigation. We hope that justice may be done for Roberto and that it may bring his family some peace.”

According to Vermont authorities, Piri was driving directly in front of Fonseca-Rivera in his 2018 Toyota Tundra on Route 103, returning home from a property he owned in Londonderry, when he fired shots that struck Fonseca-Rivera in the head and neck.

Vermont State Police sent a trooper to check on Fonseca-Rivera after receiving a call from Katsiroubas Produce saying he had not returned after making a delivery in Vermont. His truck’s GPS showed it had stopped on Route 103, according to an affidavit filed in court.

Fonseca-Rivera’s body was later found inside the company truck, slumped over with a gunshot wound to the face. One bullet appeared to have passed through the windshield. A gouge in the hood indicated that the shots were fired from the front of the truck, State Police said.

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An autopsy found that Fonseca-Rivera was killed by a single gunshot that tore his carotid artery. The chief medical examiner’s office determined that Fonseca-Rivera did not die immediately and had time to pull the truck over and park it before losing consciousness, State Police said.

A friend who was talking on the phone with Fonseca-Rivera around the time of the incident told investigators that he said there was a vehicle in front of him that was speeding up and slowing down, and the friend recommended he honk at the driver, State Police said.

The friend then heard Fonseca-Rivera’s truck hitting the rumble strip alongside the highway. Fonseca-Rivera appeared to laugh at first but then sounded like he was inhaling deeply, according to the affidavit. He then fell silent.

Surveillance video showed that Piri was driving the same roads just ahead of the delivery truck and appeared to have slowed around the time the shooting took place, State Police said.

Investigators seized five handguns at Piri’s homes in Vermont and Connecticut, including one that matched the type used to kill Fonseca-Rivera but was missing its barrel and upper receiver, which are necessary for ballistic matching, according to the document. Piri had no criminal record and had a Connecticut concealed weapons permit, but only had an AR-15 style rifle registered to him, State Police said.

The two men did not know each other, officials said. State police did not disclose a motive for the shooting.

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Piri was taken into custody as he walked out of a Publix Supermarket in Naples Thursday morning, officials said. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Friday at 2 p.m. in the county courthouse in Naples.


Andrew Brinker can be reached at andrew.brinker@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewnbrinker. John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.