Fugitive Joseph Kernizan, 42, fatally shot himself in the head as the law closed in on his first-floor Florida refuge about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, the source said.
Cops believe Kernizan gunned down his ex-girlfriend, Tracy Bennett, 38, and popular reggae singer Wayne Hamilton, 50, outside the Holiday Motel in Eastchester Saturday morning.
Kernizan and Bennett had two children together, but she had been dating Hamilton for about five years before the killings outside the hot sheets motel.
NYPD detectives tracked the suspect to a two-story, four-family house in Miami, which was encircled with help of federal marshals and Miami police, the source said.
After cops used a bullhorn to order the residents out of their building, Kernizan tried to escape out the back door — only to find the waiting police, the source said.
The suspect bolted back inside, and gunshots were heard moments later from a first-floor apartment. A robot with a camera was sent inside and spotted the body.
A Bronx Felony Squad detective made a tentative ID of the suspect after going into the apartment. A .380-caliber handgun was found near the body, which had a gunshot wound to the head.
Kernizan, a squat 5-foot-5 and 220 pounds, was the father of Bennett's two younger children and was “obsessed” with her, growing enraged when she tried to break away and sought an order of protection against him, a friend of hers told the Daily News.
He was arrested in August after allegedly violating a protection order at the Elmont, L.I., home that he and Bennett shared, court records show.
The married Hamilton, whose wife at home in Milwaukee did not know about his relationship with Bennett, also may have baited his alleged killer in a 2010 song called “Nah Lef Joe.”
In the 2010 tune, Hamilton, 50, better known as Captain Barkey, sang of bedding a woman, then complaining in the chorus, “She tell me she nah lef Joe.”
A friend of Bennett's told The News the song was about Bennett and Kernizan, although other followers of the reggae/dancehall genre say it may have been about cheating in general.
In a photo of Hamilton and Bennett taken in May at Mingles Cafe in the Bronx, the reggae singer was decked out in a black suit with his arm around his lover. Bennett wore a short purple, black and silver dress and pumps.
Sources, including Hamilton's longtime music partner David (Wickerman) Taylor, said Hamilton and Kernizan had feuded in the past when Hamilton came to New York to play shows.
Wickerman said Kernizan once crashed a car into a vehicle carrying Hamilton and Bennett.
“Everyone knew this was a bad situation,” said one New York-based reggae deejay, who did not wish to be identified. “People knew that this was going to end badly.”