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Shooting

U.S. Rep Suozzi waves from the field during the game. Photo from Suozzi’s office

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) made his way to the dugout to play in the congressional bipartisan baseball game last Thursday, June 15. The game came one day after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) was shot by a gunman, along with four others, during a practice just outside of Washington D.C.

Suozzi said the experience was very unique.

“To be one of only 20 players, and a freshman, on the Democrats congressional baseball team was an awesome experience,” he said in a statement. “After the shootings last Wednesday, the game took on a more important meaning, and the experience was truly humbling. Since day one I have talked about bipartisan cooperation and civility. It’s a shame it took a tragedy, but now it’s a part of the national conversation.”

Suozzi said he and his teammates first learned of the shootings at the Republican practice in Arlington, Virginia, around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning while the Democrats were practicing at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

“After the initial shock, confirmation of the events and being instructed by police to shelter in place at the dugout, the entire Democratic team circled together and prayed for our Republican colleagues and the other victims,” he said.

Before Thursday night’s game, both teams kneeled at second base at Nationals Park, where Scalise was supposed to have played, in a show of bipartisan unity. Democrats and Republicans prayed for the victims and their families as well as to come together as one united Congress.

The game raised a record $1.5 million for charity and was attended by nearly 25,000 fans. This was the 80th game of a tradition dating back to 1909. Capitol Police officer David Bailey, who was injured in the attack, threw out the first pitch.

Suozzi said the show of unity was very important.

“I sincerely hope we use this unique opportunity to show the American people that we’re here to try and get things done — together as Americans,” he said.

Suozzi had a hard-hit line drive to the shortstop and a ground ball to the third baseman, leaving him 0 for 2.

“It was still a fantastic experience and I hope I get to play again next year,” he said.

The Democrats won the game 11-2, and following their victory gave this year’s trophy to the Republicans to place in Scalise’s office until he recovers.

“I will continue to pray for Steve, the injured officers and other victims, and for our country,” Suozzi said. “We have important work to do. The people are sick of politics and politicians, and we need to work together on these life and death issues and actually get things done — together.”

File photo

Suffolk County Police 2nd Squad detectives are investigating the shooting of a man in Greenlawn early Wednesday morning.

Omar Fuentes was standing with a group of people in front of 283A Broadway when police said a man approached the group, fired shots then fled on foot south of Broadway. Fuentes, 30, of Greenlawn, was struck twice in the hip and transported by Greenlawn Fire Department to Huntington Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The suspect was described as short, thin and was wearing all black.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the 2nd Squad at 631-854-8252 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

File photo

Suffolk County Police 2nd Squad detectives are investigating a shooting that injured two men in Huntington Station early Wednesday morning, May 17.

Two men were standing at East 11th Street and Grand Place at approximately 1:15 a.m. when they were allegedly approached by a group of males who shot them.

The victims, ages 25 and 20, were transported via Huntington Community 1st Aid Squad to Huntington Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the shooting to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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Alain Jean mugshot from SCPD

A 23-year-old homeless man was sentenced to 17 years in state prison Feb. 27 for stabbing another homeless man in an abandoned house in Port Jefferson Station last summer, according to a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. Alain Jean pleaded guilty to first-degree assault. He told police he confronted the victim, Joseph Panettiere, 23, because he believed Panettiere was spreading rumors about him. On June 11, 2016, Jean shot the victim four times with a .22 caliber pistol leaving him seriously wounded.

In addition to sentencing the defendant, Judge Timothy Mazzei issued a permanent order of protection for the victim.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, Jean shot the then 22-year-old victim multiple times shortly after 12:30 p.m. on Union Street, which is between Hallock Avenue and Route 25A, and the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Port Jefferson Station.

Panettiere was treated for serious injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are investigating a shooting that took place at Melissa’s Restaurant in Huntington Station this past Saturday, Oct. 22.

Second Precinct patrol officers responded to a shot spotter activation, which is technology used to detect when shots are fired, at the restaurant, on New York Ave. at 2:16 a.m. Several patrons reported hearing shots, shell casings were recovered and police determined shots were fired. Police said the suspect was described as an Hispanic male wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt pulled tightly around his face.

The investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

A shooting in Huntington Station Aug. 27 left one man dead and another injured.

Antoine Butts-Miller, 18, was standing outside a residence on 5th Ave. with a large group of people when police said he and another man were shot at approximately 3:30 a.m.

Butts-Miller, 18, of Huntington Station, was taken by Huntington Community First Aid Squad to Huntington Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The other victim, a 31-year-old man, was also taken to an area hospital where he was treated and released.

The investigation is ongoing. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the shooting to contact the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6394 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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The online version of this story was updated on July 7 at 12:30 p.m.

Suffolk County Police have arrested two men in connection with a shooting outside of a bar on Main Street in Smithtown on Friday, June 3 that left one man injured.

Police said one man grabbed and hung onto a water pipe inside of Hypnosis 8.0 at 43 East Main St. around 1:15 a.m., causing the bar patrons to evacuate and a crowd to form outside the bar. Soon after, police said at least two people fired shots following an altercation, leading to a 29-year-old man from Central Islip to be shot in the leg.

The victim, who was shot, but not identified, was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Suffolk County cops said Friday.

Following an investigation by Fourth Squad detectives, Joell Nieves surrendered to police on June 24 and Dashaun Odister was arrested by members of the Suffolk County Police Firearms Suppression Team on Montauk Highway in Bellport on July 6.

Nieves, 22, of Bay Shore, was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Odister, 21, of East Patchogue, was charged with, first-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and an active warrant for military desertion.

Odister will be held overnight at the Fourth Precinct and will be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on July 7. Nieves has already been arraigned.

Additional reporting contributed by Victoria Espinoza

A violent dispute between two homeless men left one with a gunshot wound, and the other in court.

Alain Jean mugshot from SCPD
Alain Jean mugshot from SCPD

Alain Jean, 22, charged with shooting a homeless man in Port Jefferson Station on June 11, pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and criminal possession of a weapon when he was arraigned at Suffolk County District Court in Riverhead on Tuesday, according to his attorney and Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

“He vehemently denies these allegations,” Jean’s Hauppauge-based attorney Donald Mates said in a phone interview Tuesday. “He can’t wait to get his story out there to explain what really happened.”

Jean’s bail was set at $500,000 cash or $1 million bond, according to a spokesman for Spota. Mates said his client wasn’t able to make bail as of Tuesday.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, Jean shot the 22-year-old victim multiple times shortly after 12:30 p.m. on Union Street, which is between Hallock Avenue and Route 25A, and the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Port Jefferson Station.

The victim was treated for serious injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital. A spokesman for Spota said the weapon used in the shooting was a .22 caliber revolver.

Jean’s next court date is July 26.

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Residents read the names of all Charleston and Orlando victims, who each had a candle lit in their memory. Photo by Kevin Redding

By Kevin Redding

On Friday evening, a diverse group of pastors and residents showed that, in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, there is more good in the world than evil.

They gathered together at the Mount Sinai Congregational Church to honor the nine churchgoers who were killed a year ago in a shooting spree during a peaceful Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as the 49 killed in an all-too-similar fashion in a gay nightclub in Orlando last week. While both massacres are products of hatred and bigotry, those who attended Friday’s service united under a theme of love and acceptance.

The service of remembrance was organized by the Mount Sinai church and the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Setauket, where a North Shore family related to one of the nine people shot and killed go regularly and last year’s service for victims was held. Just a week after 21-year-old Dylann Roof sat down in a Charleston church, participated in the readings, engaged with others, and ultimately stood up to open fire and take lives, the Three Village community showed up in droves to pay respects.

Greatly touched by the healing that took place, Bethel AME pastor Rev. Gregory Leonard and Mount Sinai resident Tom Lyon were quick to ensure this year’s anniversary service and, in light of another mass murder, a call for unity and support seemed necessary now more than ever.

Willie White, a Setauket resident, holds up a picture of his second cousin, a victim in the Charleston shooting. Photo by Kevin Redding
Willie White, a Setauket resident, holds up a picture of his second cousin, a victim in the Charleston shooting. Photo by Kevin Redding

“It’s important that people of goodwill come together,” Leonard said to the intimate and emotional crowd. “We have to build bridges and get to know each other. As I press on in years, I think about the legacy that we will leave, and I hope all of us can say at one point that we were building some bridges, we came together and we cared and didn’t just let a moment pass us by.”

Setauket church member Willie White held up a picture of his cousin, the Rev. DePayne Middleton Doctor, one of the victims in Charleston, and spoke at length about dealing with a tragedy that hits so close to home.

His family in Charleston had to wait hours after news broke of the shooting before they knew anything, he said, reduced to unbearable panic trying to call and get hold of their loved one, who would soon be confirmed as one of the fallen.

He called to action the importance of not seeing one another as different, saying that we are capable of avoiding future tragedies if we stand together. This is something he notices often in the aftermath of a traumatizing incident.

“I saw people of all walks of life hugging each other,” White said. “Why can’t we live like that every day? On that particular night, Charleston changed. The people changed. Unfortunately, it took nine lives for a change. I’m sure there’s gonna be a change in Florida. But look how many lives it took. We can think back on so many lives that have been taken with guns. And still, guns are on the market.”

Emotionally battered and certainly passionate about a need for change, Shahina Chaudry, a Muslim from the area, stood up and explained that her brother was among the 67 people killed by terrorists in the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, and she understands exactly what the grieving families are going through.

“May God be with them, may God make them strong,” she said. “And may there be big, big changes in this country and may we all be part of those changes. I’m happy to be with all of you.”

A resident named Ira Apsel then stood up and faced Chaudry, offering his condolences.

“An old Hebrew prayer is ‘shalom aleichem,’ meaning ‘peace be with you’, and the response is ‘aleichem shalom,’ meaning ‘and also with you’… Shalom aleichem.”

“Aleichem shalom,” Chaudry responded.

Apsel composed himself as much as possible when he said that everybody has so much in common, and the evil in society must not be allowed to keep everybody apart. Leonard helped solidify this notion by leading the church in a sing-along of “This Little Light of Mine” before the names of each and every victim of Charleston and Orlando were read and honored with lit candles.

Before the service ended and people took time to commiserate with each other, Mount Sinai pastor Ron Wood drove home the importance of acceptance.

“Places where you gather with others like you, essentially, are sanctuaries,” he said. “Where you can be who you are without judgment. Pulse was a sanctuary. AME Church was a sanctuary. A sanctuary isn’t a place to escape. It’s a place to be strengthened and nurtured.”

As everybody filed out of the church, they were holding each other, laughing and smiling, and appearing even more unified than they were upon entering only an hour or so prior. In the wake of a tragedy that should destroy all hope and joy, the Mount Sinai Congregational Church was certainly a place to be strengthened and nurtured.

Alain Jean mugshot from SCPD

A homeless man shot another in Port Jefferson Station on Saturday afternoon, following what authorities called a dispute between the two.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, 22-year-old Alain Jean shot the victim, another homeless man of the same age, multiple times shortly after 12:30 p.m. on Union Street, which is between Hallock Avenue/Route 25A and the Long Island Rail Road tracks.

The victim was treated for serious injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Police arrested Jean after the June 11 shooting and charged him with first-degree assault.

His attorney, Happauge-based Donald Mates, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Monday.

The incident is the second violent one between homeless people that police have reported in the area over the last several days. On June 7, officers arrested and charged a woman for allegedly stabbing her partner to death in a parking lot.

Police said last week that 60-year-old Ada Robinson was arrested at the scene in the Home Depot parking lot on Middle Country Road in Coram, where she allegedly had fatally stabbed 55-year-old Ralph Anthony. She was charged with first-degree manslaughter.

Patrol officers had responded to a 911 call close to 7:30 p.m. that day when they found the victim, who was later pronounced dead at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue.

Both Robinson and Anthony were homeless, and they were “at least common-law husband and wife,” according to the Homicide Unit’s Lt. Kevin Beyrer. He said in an interview last week that the pair had been a couple for a long period of time, but he wasn’t sure if the two were legally married.

Robinson’s attorney, Ronkonkoma-based Jason Bassett, declined to comment on the case.

She has previous charges of assault with a weapon pending against her, one felony and one misdemeanor, stemming from an incident in May 2015, in which Beyrer confirmed that Anthony was also the alleged victim.

Her attorney in that case, Central Islip-based Robin Stanco, did not return a call seeking comment.

Detectives are still investigating the June 11 shooting in Port Jefferson Station. Anyone with information is asked to call the 6th Squad at 631-854-8652.

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