HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two possible gang-related shootings have police in one Long Island community urging residents to be cautious.
The shootings occurred within a 24-hour period in Hempstead. Police said the incidents do not appear to be related. One involved a known 20-year-old gang member, who is now hospitalized in stable condition, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported. The other shooting claimed the life of a 15-year-old boy.
“Obviously with this type of violence occurring in the street we would suggest that the public take precautions when they are out and about and we are increasing our patrols for that very reason,” Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki said.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the shooting death of 15-year-old Joshua Guzman. Police responding to a ShotSpotter found the boy’s body on the street near Laurel and Linden avenues early Monday morning.
The boy’s father, Raul Guzman, told Newsday that he learned his son had been killed after he called the teen’s cellphone and a police detective answered. The boy’s mother learned of his death while she was in the hospital being treated for a broken back from a car crash about a week ago.
Guzman said he called his son on Monday to make sure the high school sophomore was in school and learned that Joshua had been fatally shot overnight. Guzman said he’d told his son not to leave the house and the teen said he wouldn’t, but Joshua must have gone out while he was asleep.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, candles marked the spot where Guzman was shot and killed. It’s the same corner where another young man was gunned down over the summer.
Guzman may be the latest victim of what Nassau police called a spoke in gang violence island-wide.
“There seems to be an uptick in shooting incidents that are involved in gang activity. We are keeping a very close eye on that in Nassau and Suffolk is doing the same,” Skrynecki said.
Police said Guzman was walking with two others at 1 a.m. when he was targeted. Just hours later the 20-year-old was shot in car on Terrace Ave.
The police said the incidents are unrelated, but gang connected.
Parents are alarmed.
“It’s terrible. The gun violence has to stop,” Melissa Murchison said.
Guzman’s father told police he was urging his son to resist the pressure of joining gangs, with deadly violence escalating in the year since an innocent 12-year-old was struck and killed by a bullet that was shot into her Hempstead Village home.
Church leaders said despite their efforts, gangs are recruiting lower in schools.
“It’s escalating. We are going to be the next Chicago if we don’t do something,” Pastor Lynwood Deans said.
“We have a horrendous problem. Girls that are involved in gangs as young as 12 and 13-years-old doing the most horrendous things,” Evangelist Reginald Benjamin.
Nassau Police said they have a sophisticated surveillance of gang prone areas, and intelligence, but what they need are witnesses to come forward.
“If you are concerned about the violence in your community, the way to stop that is to call us with information,” Skrynecki said.
Uniondale school officials said Josh Guzman was a cherished student, and a wonderful member of the school community. Grief counselors are available to classmates.
Detectives are asking anyone with information to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.
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