Gay group honours the man who found Cunanan

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The Independent Online
The man who stumbled upon Andrew Cunanan, suspected killer of fashion designer Gianni Versace and four other people, was in New York yesterday to collect a $10,000 reward from a gay and lesbian group.

Fernando Carreira, caretaker of the Miami houseboat where Cunanan's body was found with a self- inflicted gunshot wound last Wednesday, is suing the city of Miami Beach and Dade County claiming that they breached a contract by refusing to give him $65,000 in reward money offered by various agencies.

"I'm the one who was in danger, I'm the one who stopped all this killing," Mr Carreira said in an interview with CNN yesterday, explaining why he believed he should get the reward money.

The New York-based Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, which had offered the $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and convction of Cunanan, said it would honour its promise by awarding Mr Carreira a $10,000 cheque at a news conference.

"He could have walked away, saved himself, and ignored what was going on," spokeswoman Christine Quinn said. "But he did what we asked Americans to do in May when we put up the reward."

Cunanan was on the FBI's "10 Most Wanted" list for four killings across the US before he allegedly gunned down Versace on 15 July in front of his Miami Beach mansion.

Mr Carreira, 71, was on his weekly caretaking rounds with his wife last Wednesday when he went aboard the two-story houseboat and saw signs that someone was sleeping there, including a pair of sandals on the floor. He drew his gun, and ran when he heard the shot from the upstairs bedroom where Cunanan was later found dead.

In New York yesterday, Mr Carreira's lawyer, David Aelion, said on CNN that as his client came into the room "something happened that pushed Cunanan to take the shot that made him commit suicide. Because of that we have to give him credit for bringing this whole bad situation to the end".

The Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, however, told reporters the $10,000 reward offered by the city would not be given to Mr Carreira because the Miami police said his call was not significant, it did not lead to an arrest and conviction and Mr Carreira did not call the special hotline for Cunanan tip-offs.

"This might feel good for some people but this would mean that thousands and thousands of people who don't fit the proper criteria of a reward whould get one and you distort the whole purpose of a reward," Mr Giuliani said. Reuters, New York