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Shooting

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Suffolk County Police Department 6th squad detectives are investigating an incident in which a man and woman were shot in Centereach and later died from the injuries.

The 6th Precinct officers responded to a 911 report of two injured people in a car on Washington Avenue at approximately 8 p.m. Sept. 11, according to police. When officers arrived they found the woman in the driver’s seat of a 2014 Kia Soul with a gunshot wound to the head and the man in the passenger’s seat with a gunshot wound to the head. A firearm was recovered inside the vehicle.

Police have identified Erick Horton, 48, of Coram, and Stacy Rountree, 48, of Coram, as the of the incident. Horton and Rountree have both died from their injuries following the shooting, according to police.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about the incident to call 631-854-8652.

This post was updated Sept. 14 following updates from the police on the victims’ status.

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It’s the end of July so it’s likely the minds of students, administrators and parents have drifted far away from the hallways of their schools, away from school board meetings and discussions about funding safety improvements. It’s understandable. But following an in-office, exclusive interview with Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. (D) July 20, county residents should sleep well knowing he has allowed himself no such break.

Hardening schools for the worst-case scenario — an intruder entering a local school with the means and intent to impose lethal, widespread harm — has become a top priority for districts across the country since the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. In the absence of substantive action on tightening gun laws with commonsense reform coming from the increasingly feckless Washington anytime soon, local municipalities and schools have had to get creative.

This week, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) signed a bill permitting the county to pursue bond funding for a mobile application that government employees and school administrators will be able to download and use to directly contact law enforcement in the event of a shooting at a school or government building. In the aftermath of Parkland, Bellone announced an initiative that would allow districts interested in participating to grant access to school security systems to the Suffolk County Police Department, so that in the case of an emergency, law enforcement can see exactly what’s going on in the school. New York State passed its own set of bills in the spring as well, mostly geared toward allocating funds to districts interested in securing infrastructure or hiring additional security or mental health personnel.

These plans are a great start, especially, again, since we would all turn blue in the face holding our breath waiting for Congress. But Toulon raised some issues that seemed to us like they needed to be heard.

When asked if he could wave a magic wand and grant one thing to all 69 of Suffolk’s school districts to make them more secure, he identified establishing uniform practices countywide for training security — armed or otherwise — so that responders have a better feel for what they’re walking into should one of these dark days strike close to home. Uncertainty about what to expect between police and school district security should be the last thing either should be worried about in the midst of a frantic mission to save lives.

Further, Toulon said he has made his office available to districts interested in having their security practices assessed on a voluntary basis. So far, he said just 10 of the 69 districts have taken him up on the offer. We’d like to see that number reach 100 percent by the end of this year.

In addition, the sheriff’s office plans to host a forum for Suffolk school superintendents Aug. 16 at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue to talk broadly about school security and to share ideas. The offices of the sheriff and county executive have not let this issue fade away during the summer months, and we hope schools haven’t forgotten either.

File photo by Victoria Espinoza

A dispute inside a Port Jefferson Station pool hall resulted in the shooting death of a 27-year-old man July 22.

Suffolk County Police Homicide detectives are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred inside Billiards DBM, located at 1604 Main Street in Port Jefferson Station at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday night, according to police.

Following an altercation, Albert Luis Lopez Rodriguez was shot inside the hall, police said. Rodriguez, 27, of Selden was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner.

The investigation is ongoing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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.”

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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.

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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 car. File photo

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

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