MEDFORD, NY (CBSNewYork) — Neighbors of David Laffer said they’re in disbelief that the 33-year-old has been arrested and charged in the pharmacy massacre that left four people dead on Sunday.

Laffer looked like a happy man when he married his wife Melinda Brady. She called him her “best friend” and “soulmate”. They picked “At Last” by Etta James for their first wedding dance.

The picture of the couple Thursday was quite different .

Laffer was arrested Wednesday on charges of murder and resisting arrest for the execution-style murders of four people at the Haven Pharmacy in Medford. 

Laffer’s situation changed considerably in recent years — enough that police said he was the man so desperate for prescription pills that he turned to murder to get them.

1010 WINS’ Writer/Editor Walter Geis Remembers Laffer As A Nice Guy

The allegations stunned many neighbors who knew the former Army private.

“I can’t believe it; I can’t,” Carmen Montero said. “I’m shocked that this could possibly be David.”

“I would never ever think that anyone who lived around our area of Pitchpine would ever do anything like this,” said neighbor RoseAnne Errera.

Zaida Ayala, a family friend of the Laffers, said she talked about the pharmacy killings with the suspect’s mother, Pam.

“She said to me, ‘Zaida, this is not the neighborhood we live in,’ and she said, ‘I hope they find this person,'” said Ayala.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports: Many Residents Say They’re Relieved

Cheryl Stephen said she still can’t believe this accused cold-blooded killer lived right down the block from her parents in the house where she grew up.

“It’s just very unsettling. Of course you feel better that he’s caught, but it’s like you don’t know who your neighbors are. It’s unbelievable,” said Stephen.

Suspect David Laffer being led from police headquarters (credit: CBS 2)

Since the murders, Stephen says she just doesn’t feel as safe.

1010 WINS’ writer and editor Walter Geis used to play hockey with Laffer in an amateur league in Farmingdale. He said he remembers Laffer as being “a nice kid.”

“Whenever you play hockey you always meet some aggressive guys, he wasn’t exactly the type to back down but he wasn’t one of these guys that were always looking for a fight either,” Geis said.

Next-door neighbor Trish Bohlert said Laffer was always friendly. 

“Something must have made him snap, because his personality, I can’t picture him robbing a store, much less hurt people,” she said.

Some have said the local boy who lived with his wife and mother at her house changed, saying he started abusing Vicodin. Law enforcement sources say his wife also got hooked on prescription pills.

Two weeks ago, Laffer lost his job as a shipping clerk at a company in Yaphank, reportedly for stealing from a co-worker, CBS 2’s Wendy Gillette reports. His health insurance was gone, and he reportedly signed up for food stamps last week.

Killed Sunday were pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, 45, Jennifer Mejia, 17, and customers Bryon Sheffield, 71, and 33-year-old Jaime Taccetta.

Taccetta’s grandmother, Pat Muran, rushed to the neighborhood as soon as she heard of Laffer’s arrest.

“You’re the devil and God always wins out,” she said, shaking. “Your day will come.”

17-year-old Jennifer Mejia (credit: Handout) / Jaime Taccetta (credit: Handout)

Mejia had planned on wearing her prom dress Wednesday night  along with her classmates at the Bellport High school prom. Instead, the murdered teenager will be laid to rest in the dress.

Her cap and gown were carried into the wake as a line of mourning friends and family stood in a line wrapped around the funeral home.

Thursday evening, her classmates will be going ahead with their graduation, a ceremony overshadowed by the sadness of the past few days. 

There will also be a wake Thursday for the 33-year-old mother of two Jaime Taccetta, who was set to get married in October. Her funeral is being held on Saturday; she will be laid to rest in her wedding gown.

Relatives and friends are also mourning the loss of pharmacist Raymond Ferguson who was working Father’s Day, his day off, as a favor to his boss. A funeral mass for Ferguson is scheduled for Saturday at Our Lady Of Martyrs Church in Forest Hills. 

Laffer’s wife, 29-year-old Melinda Brady, was charged with robbery for her involvement in the heist and obstruction.

As she was leaving Suffolk police headquarters early Thursday morning,  Brady appeared to implicate her husband and apologized. “I’m sorry he did all of this,” she said.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

Comments (21)
  1. Andy Vasvari says:

    How was he able to shot 4 people to death?
    After the first one was shot, were no time for the others to find cover or run?

  2. icuryy4me says:

    laughner and laffer, I pray to God I meet you!!!!!
    I want to get rid of such people as well. I am unemployed. I can program in python and C. I can build computers. I have the patience of a saint. Yet I am poor and without the drugs that make me happy. I dont have a wife or even a girl friend. Yet I dont feel as if killing random innocent individuals will compensate for the laziness that is bestowed upon me by my fellow americans. In fact I will use my time to seek and destroy all who like this fellow.

  3. Deb says:

    Oh, Jessa…I like the idea of Bubba asking David Laffer to BEND OVER! I hope he gets it good in prison. I hope he is reminded of his crime EACH DAY he is there, just like those who lost loved ones will be reminded of their loss EVERY DAY they wake up without them.

  4. Ellen says:

    Evil sometimes comes off with a smile and a handshake. No one knows what’s in the heart and soul of a person but God.

  5. Gregg says:

    Someone had to know this guy,was a drugy, had a gun and was ready to explode ! What about his parents ? Somehow, I thing this sad,sad crime could have been prevented !

  6. nyc says:

    Wht, Why, Why did he kill those innocent unarmed people ? He could have taken anything he wanted from the store without hurting anyone. I wish someone in the store had been armed and shot this guy first !

  7. PK says:

    I don’t understand why the wife is not charged with felony murder because the murder occurred in the commission of a felony. I though all participants in a felony are charged with murder if people are killed during the commission of the felony, regardless of whether the all the participants knew about the killing or took part in them.

    1. jessa says:

      Charges can be upgraded pending investigation, so there’s that. Or maybe she is cooperating with police in exchange for no felony murder charge. She seems to easily tell anyone listening that he did it.

  8. Big Nard says:

    I bet lydia is some fat greasy looking guy writing this comment.

  9. MM says:

    Those who commit such heinous crimes didn’t think twice about the lives they affected. Any educated person knows that it costs the tax payers more to keep them alive in jail, that money should be put into something else not to let evil breathe. People who can harbor such evil should have that privilege taking away, they aren’t contributing to society but making it worst. Funny thing is those who are against execution have no problem eliminating pest from their lives such as if dog malled a child, you’d quickly request the dog to be put to sleep, a life is a life so don’t talk about ignorant.

  10. mary says:

    gc , you are a cretin, did your momma tell you this?

  11. Joan Papadatos says:

    I heard nothing about the 71 year man Bryron Sheffield on the news or about his family. I was wondering why! I am, also, wondering if it is because of his age and nobody seems to care much about the elderly in our society!!!!!

    1. Aceof Spades says:

      Also consider he might not have a family. He is 71 working in a pharmacy. He should have been taken care of instead of working. Sometimes it’s not news worthy when they have nothing to talk about. True but sad unfortunately.

      1. jessa says:

        He wasn’t a worker there, he was a customer. Maybe his family wants to keep their grief private.

  12. Realist says:

    I’d like to hear your argument behind that logic, gc. One man is solely and directly responsible for the deaths of 4 others. Why shouldn’t he be put to death just as he put to death those 4 innocent people?

  13. ziippy magoo says:

    Freaking junkies…. should be drawn and quarterd in the street.

  14. No Hope For The Middle Class says:

    You mean he was unemployed too???

  15. jerry august says:


    1. gc says:

      It’s “waste” and “damn.” Only the ignorant and otherwise uneducated support execution.

      1. Jessa says:

        Execution has not proven to be a deterrent to criminal behavior. I like the idea of him rotting away in prison for the rest of his long life rather than giving him the easy way out by executing him.

      2. jojo says:

        Jessa. thats is because most people on death row die of old age before being executed. Of course execution will not be a deterrent. Who is paying for him rotting in jail? Me, you and everyone in NY.

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