WYANDANCH, N.Y. (AP) — A gunman opened fire on four people inside an SUV parked outside a home in a crime-riddled suburban neighborhood, killing three of them, including a gang member, police said Thursday.
No suspect was immediately identified or arrested in the shooting that took place shortly before midnight Wednesday in Wyandanch, Long Island.
Suffolk County homicide detectives identified the dead as 25-year-old William Madrey, of Wyandanch; 23-year-old Stephanie Almedina Rivera, of Bay Shore; and 23-year-old Ciara Smith, of Deer Park.
Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer, the homicide squad commander, said Madrey was a known member of the Bloods street gang. “We are investigating if gang involvement had a place in this shooting,” he said, but cautioned that detectives were “investigating all avenues.”
Madrey, who was in the driver’s seat, has a previous conviction for attempted sale of a firearm in 2010, Beyrer said. He said investigators believe the gunman acted alone.
The fourth victim, a woman, was not immediately identified. She was taken to a hospital and was expected to survive.
Police were offering a $3,000 reward for information about the shooting, which took place in a high-crime neighborhood about 40 miles east of midtown Manhattan.
“It’s a shame,” said Virginia Dawson-Taylor, president of a neighborhood watch group. “The police department is not doing enough for our neighborhood.”
Dawson-Taylor said her organization has received complaints about drug-related activity at the home where the shooting occurred.
“They should be doing more patrolling, they should be doing more surveillance out there and they should be on top of it,” she said. “There’s a lot of drug activity, and it’s filtering down to the street.”
Residents at the home declined to comment Thursday.
Beyrer said he was unaware of the complaints made by the neighborhood watch group.
Relatives of one of the dead women sobbed and hugged nearby. They told Newsday that Almedina Rivera was trying to pull her life together after a “rough patch” and was studying to be a health care aide.
“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 Almedina Rivera’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 Almedina Rivera, her friend’s daughter.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Burnette 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.”
This story has been corrected to show the last name of one of the victims is Stephanie Almedina Rivera, not Stephanie Almedina.