Nassau activists to train residents to respond to crime scenes

Nassau County Police and Hempstead Police investigate a Nassau County Police and Hempstead Police investigate a crime scene on Lawson Street where two people were stabbed in Hempstead. (Oct. 5, 2013) Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

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Community activists in Nassau County -- standing on a Hempstead street where two people were found stabbed the day before -- Monday announced they would train residents to respond to crime scenes to gather intelligence and assist victims.

Corey Pegues -- a Hempstead resident, retired NYPD commander and founding member of the Law Enforcement Alliance -- said his group seeks to help combat and solve crimes, such as the stabbing, which left one man dead.

"We want to bridge the gap between the police and the community," said Pegues, who said the group plans to train local clergy and other leaders to respond to crime scenes and assist police with gathering information. "If you get people in soft clothing . . . A lot of people are intimidated by the uniform . . . You can garner more information."

Pegues said the activists also plan in coming months to start a new online campaign -- called "I'm a snitch" -- to urge witnesses to come forward.

A police spokesman did not respond to a message seeking comment on the group's efforts.

An unidentified man, suffering from a stab wound, died on Lawson Street in Hempstead Village about 7 a.m. Sunday, Nassau police said.

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An 18-year-old woman, who was stabbed multiple times, was found several houses away, also on Lawson Street. She was taken to a hospital and was in critical condition Sunday.

Police said they could not provide an update Monday on the woman's condition, the identification of either of the victims, nor whether they had identified any suspects or made any arrests.

James McCummings, 62, a retired hospital administrator who lives in the neighborhood, said a neighbor called him Sunday morning and said a body was in the street in front of her home.

"This is quite disturbing and shocking," McCummings said, adding that he didn't know the victims and he's unsure if they lived in the usually quiet neighborhood. "We're still kind of reeling from it."

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