BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Candles still burn outside Haven Drugs Pharmacy on Long Island as friends, family and even strangers mourned the loss of four innocent victims gunned down in cold blood on Sunday.
The community in Medford is on edge knowing the drug-crazed killer is still on the loose.
“It’s very alarming that he’s still out there. He needs to be caught and brought to justice and face what he did and face these families,” Medford resident Marlene Giusti told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.
However, the public has been doing its part in trying to help Suffolk County police with the manhunt for the suspected killer.
Police are offering up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the gunman. He’s described as a 5-foot-8 white man with a thin build, who was last unshaven.
The phones haven’t stopped ringing at Suffolk Crime Stoppers. The commander of the unit, Lt. Bob Donohue, said the response from the public was the biggest since the Gilgo Beach killings came to light.
Police Have Been Getting Plenty Of Tips From The Public. 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera Reports.
“We’ve been extremely busy since Sunday. We received over 250 calls, we’re still receiving calls,” Donohue told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
The shooting victims included 17-year-old Jennifer Mejia, a high school senior, 45-year-old pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, and customers Bryon Sheffield, 71, and Jamie Taccetta, 33. The four victims all lived within a few miles of the pharmacy.
Mejia, a pharmacy assistant, was set to attend prom and graduate from Bellport High School this week. A wake for her will be held Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Robertaccio Funeral Home in Patchogue.
FAMILY OF VICTIM JAMIE TACCETTA SPEAKS OUT
Ralph Taccetta called his daughter’s alleged killer a “coward” and a “punk.” He said he believes if the suspect is arrested, he should get the death penalty.
Speaking with 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria, Taccetta said his daughter had big plans for the rest of her life.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria Speaks With The Family Of Victim Jamie Taccetta
“[She was] getting married in October. We had a wedding dress picked out. It’s at my home. We had set up the wedding hall, kids’ dresses, you know, all of that,” he said.
Taccetta’s tearful mother, Patricia, told reporters “there was no reason” to shoot the innocent bystanders in the pharmacy.
“We’re going to get you. We’re going to get you and justice is going to be done. It was so senseless. He could have stole the drugs and left everybody alone,” she said.
“There’s no excuse for killing four people. There’s no excuse for having an addiction. If you have problems, you got to get them worked out the right way and taking four innocent lives is…he’s just as bad as the Taliban,” Taccetta’s cousin, John Brown, said.
Jamie Taccetta ran into the pharmacy Sunday while her fiance waited outside. He grew worried, went in to check, and discovered the massacre.
“She just ran in here, you know, it was like a couple of seconds. She just ran in to get some medication and that was it,” Ralph Taccetta said.
A family friend described Taccetta’s fiancee as being on the brink of collapse after witnessing the aftermath and knowing that he was perhaps steps away from potentially stopping the shooting.
LONG ISLAND PHARMACISTS ON EDGE AFTER SHOOTING
The massacre in Medford also has area pharmacists fearful and their customers concerned.
Police said they were speaking with local doctors and pharmacists to determine if they might know who the suspect is. That is because investigators believe the killer is a prescription drug addict.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said Monday that the victims “offered no resistance” and “did not appear to provoke the assailant.” He also went on to state that authorities believe the suspect to be “armed and dangerous.”
WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs: Pharmacists Are On Edge
West Babylon pharmacist Howard Levine has been robbed twice in recent months. In one incident, three of his workers were tied up.
“I can see in someone’s eyes, that feeling of desperation and that willingness to do whatever it takes,” Levine told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
Levine said that two of those employees couldn’t come back to work because they were permanently traumatized by the incident.
The demand for black market painkillers is also skyrocketing. The Drug Enforcement Administration said pharmacy break-ins in the city and its suburbs jumped 125 percent last year.
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