Authorities: Father Fatally Shot On Christmas Was Innocent Victim Of Gang Violence

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two suspected teen gang members are accused of fatally shooting an innocent father on Christmas as he went to pick up his daughter from a train station on Long Island, authorities said.

Shamiq Sullins, 16, of 100 Terrace Avenue, Hempstead was arraigned Wednesday on second-degree murder charges in the death of 35-year-old Rafael Cepeda. He is charged as an adult and is being held without bail.

Authorities are still looking for the suspected gunman identified as 17-year-old Antoine Foster.

Shamiq Sullins has been charged with murder in the death of Rafael Cepeda. Antoine Foster remains on the loose.

“Antoine Foster still at large we have not recovered the weapon. He may still have it,” said Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick.

Police said the victim was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Cepeda was on his way to pick up his 11-year-old daughter from the Long Island Railroad station in Hempstead, when Sullins allegedly spotted a vehicle with what he believed were rival gang members inside and Foster opened fire around 6:30 p.m., police said.

“I got a 35 year old father that left his house on Christmas Day after wrapping his daughter’s gifts. He leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter because two individuals that are both Blood members were shooting at a rival gang here in Nassau County,” Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. 

Police told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner they were able to respond quickly, thanks to new technology called “shot spotter.”

“The minute that shot happens, it triangulates the sound and pinpoints the exact location that shot was fired from,” said Fitzpatrick.

Family and friends want justice.

“The bullets weren’t even meant for him. It’s very sad that his daughter now has to be fatherless,” friend Matthew Foret said.

“I think he should turn himself in cause it’s just a matter of time. There’s nowhere for you to go. So it’s a matter of time before you’re brought to justice and you need to pay for your crime,” said one woman.

Friends said the single father had Christmas presents ready to go for his daughter.

“He’s just someone in the community – if we need a place to stay, a hot shower, or a hot meal, we can always go to him.” friend Genevra Dommermuth said.

“He was somebody’s brother, and he was loved. I saw my brother struggle, and I saw my brother prosper, and I mean I just want everybody to remember him as that person,” added friend Damaris Vinales.

Cepeda’s body is being flown to the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night.

Authorities said Foster is considered armed and dangerous.

Meantime friends have started a GoFundMe page for the victim’s daughter.