WYANDANCH, N.Y. (AP) — Three people were found shot to death and a fourth person was injured sitting inside a car on Long Island, and police said Thursday that the suspect was still on the loose.
The suspect walked up to the SUV shortly before midnight Wednesday and opened fire, fatally striking the male driver and two female passengers, Detective Lt. Kevin Beyrer said.
A third female passenger was hospitalized and expected to live, police said.
The shooting occurred on a residential street of small private homes in Wyandanch, a lower-income community where police contend with gang violence.
Early Thursday morning, multiple police vehicles lined the roadway and workers from the medical examiner’s office were on scene. Shortly before 9 a.m., the SUV was towed away, with bullet holes marking the front passenger door and rear driver’s side window. Officers scoured the area with metal detectors and a K-9 unit looking for evidence.
Relatives of one of the dead women sobbed and hugged nearby.
Stephanie Almadina, 23, of Bay Shore, was trying to pull her life together after a rough patch and was studying to be a health care aide, Newsday reported.
“Why would somebody do this to such a sweet person,” her uncle, Thomas Rivera, told the newspaper.
“She used to babysit my son all the time,” said Almadina’s older sister, Alisha Rivera. “She used to take him shopping, for ice cream. She was the best aunt.”
Neighbor Shafonski Burnette said she came to the scene after hearing rumblings that one of the victims was her friend’s daughter.
“It’s heartbreaking,” the 53-year-old said as she stood at the yellow crime scene tape that cordoned off the block. “I’ve lived here a long time. I’m friends with her mother. They live right around the block.”
Burnette said the shooting brought back bad memories. Her 14-year-old niece had been killed in a drive-by shooting on the same block a few years ago.
“Now they’re shooting,” she said. “I can’t deal with it.”
Other neighbors said they regularly hear gunshots. They said police need to do more.
Wyandanch is a hamlet in the Town of Babylon about 38 miles east of midtown Manhattan.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.