updated 3/15/2007 12:01:52 PM ET 2007-03-15T16:01:52

A man pulled his estranged girlfriend into an elevator in the office building where she worked and set off a homemade bomb, killing them both, authorities and witnesses said.

Authorities found the bodies of a man and woman inside the elevator after the explosion, and police were investigating it as a murder-suicide.

“This is a domestic violence situation — once again we have an ugly specter of domestic violence here in Massachusetts,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said.

He identified the two dead as Raymond Echavarria, 23, and Xiomara Robles, 21.

Witnesses said Echavarria pulled Robles into the elevator, The Daily Item of Lynn reported. Shortly after, police said there was an explosion inside the elevator, engulfing it in flames.

'A lot of screaming'
Attorney Phil Lamonica, whose law office shares the common area with a psychiatric clinic where Robles worked as a secretary, said he bought lunch for her, her young son and another secretary Wednesday.

Lamonica said Robles and the boy were laughing and talking when they returned to work, but a short time later Echavarria drove up. Police said the pair apparently argued near or inside the elevator.

“I heard a lot of screaming,” Lamonica said. “At first, we all thought she was trapped in the elevator and had claustrophobia, so we started punching all the buttons. I ran to call the fire department and while I was on the phone, I heard the explosion,” he told the newspaper.

The boy was left outside the elevator and survived.

The blast shook the three-story building, said Sam Gonzales, who was in a dentist’s chair on first floor. “The ceiling started coming down so we got out,” he told the newspaper.

Court records showed a restraining order was issued against Echavarria on Jan. 8 after Robles alleged he kidnapped her at knifepoint. She had the restraining order lifted on Jan. 16. Blodgett said Echavarria was scheduled to appear in court on the kidnapping charges on April 17.

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