Ronnie Massaro, the 39 year old brother to former WWE Superstar Ashley Massaro, was fatally stabbed outside of a pizza shop in New York City on Saturday, November 21.
The New York Daily News reports that the apparent random knife attack happened at around 9:15pm outside of 2 Bros. Pizza in Midtown Manhattan. Police are still searching for a suspect seen fleeing uptown after the attack.
It was noted that Ronnie was struggling to turn his life around and had been battling alcoholism following Ashley’s suicide on May 16, 2019. Ronnie had checked out of a rehab facility in Riverhead, Long Island just hours before he was murdered, according to family friend Keith Hanlon.
“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,” Hanlon said.
Hanlson said Ronnie had called him after getting on the Long Island Railroad, and that he noticed a new sense of closure in Ronnie’s voice. He sounded “uplifted and so ready,” said Hanlon.
“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. I lost him in the Midtown tunnel. His last words were, ‘I’m about to hit the Midtown tunnel, I’ll call you.'”
Ronnie’s girlfriend Carly Marie Delvalle remembered him in a post published to the website for Moloney Funeral Home.
“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 family friend, Doreen Apicella-Marrero, told The NY Daily News that the Massaro family now has two children to grieve.
“This is a horrible time for his family,” she said. “After his sister passed he had it hard adjusting emotionally.”
Rick Doust, a neighbor of the Massaro family, learned about Massaro’s killing on Monday when speaking to the paper.
“I can’t believe what you’re telling me right now,” he told The NY Daily 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.”
Ronnie was a former model who had worked in healthcare. He was working in fashion around the time of his passing, with a clothes designer in Georgia. He had hoped to one day 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.”
Ronnie was also a strong support for his parents, and a doting uncle to his niece, Ashley’s daughter. Hanlon said Ronnie was a “huge role model” for Ashley’s teenage daughter.