WYANDANCH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A recent high school graduate was gunned down just days before starting college — Tuesday was the day he was supposed to leave for school.
Instead, former teachers in Wyandanch were trying to explain the unsolved murder to shaken students.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, a steady stream of high school friends lit candles at the Wyandanch corner of Doe Street and Irving Ave where shots rang out around 11:30 on Sunday night.
Someone opened fire into a group of teens over the last weekend before a new school year.
The bullets struck and killed 18-year-old Malik Stoddart — a 2016 graduate of Wyandanch High School.
“Trying to make sense of it is very difficult,” Athletic Director, Dwight Singleton said.
He was at a loss to explain to his team the murder of the college-bound football player.
Stoddart was described as a solid student — he was involved, passionate, and talented.
He was also a track star, and was due to depart for Monroe College on an athletic scholarship.
“If you met him, you loved him. He had a persona you would adore,” Singleton said. “He was an example that we could use here in Wyandanch for young men. He really wanted more out of life, and I guess that’s the real tragedy here.”
Neighbors were also struggling with the senseless street violence. Wyandanch has long been plagued with gangs and drugs. Neighbors said Malik was not into any of that.
“No, no Malik was very outstanding,” Pastor Patricia Robinson said.
A second teen also struck by a bullet — 19-year-old Mike McLamb, a former basketball player — survived.
Suffolk police were investigating to determine if the shots were fired from the street or a car, and if Stoddart was an unintended target.
“It’s crazy because he didn’t have problems with anyone, so I don’t understand how this could have happened to him. He was a really good kid,” Mellonese Nash said.
A bright future was cut short, and an arrest has yet to be made. Friends said someone knows something, and have urged witnesses to contact police.
School in Wyandanch starts on Wednesday. Student will be briefed and offered grief counseling.