Two shot dead in Hempstead; Nassau police begins manhunt

Two men were fatally shot on a residential street in Hempstead on May 5, 2014. A hostage negotiator and special operations officers had been ordering a suspect in a house to come out, authorities said. (Credit: News 12 Long Island, Jim Staubitser)

Nassau police early Tuesday morning sent a wave of officers into an empty home in Hempstead Village searching for the suspect who gunned down two men and kept a neighborhood at bay for more than 12 hours.

The activity came after the shootings on a residential block of Belmont Parkway. Minutes earlier, police sent a robot into the house.

But police came up empty-handed, so instead offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the shooter, whom they did not identify, of the two victims, likewise unnamed.


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Nassau police Det. Lt. John Azzata, commanding officer of the homicide squad, said officers searched the home and found no one.

"An extensive search was conducted in and around the area, hostage negotiations from the Nassau County police department, emergency services and the bureau of special operations also were involved in this task," Azzata said. "They searched the home and eventually, after trying to make contact with what was believed to be the subject remaining in the house, that subject was not found in the house. The search is continuing."

Two dogs were found in the house, police said.

Azzata said it was too early in the investigation to discuss a possible motive and would not confirm the suspect's name, but said there is a $5,000 reward for information on the suspect's whereabouts.

Nassau and Hempstead Village police had surrounded 105 Belmont Pkwy. as detectives tried to determine what led to the street shooting about 1:15 p.m. near the house.

The body of one man seen lying nearby on the lawn of a Belmont Parkway home Monday afternoon remained there, covered in a white sheet, into the early morning Tuesday.

The other victim died at the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, Hempstead police said.

Earlier, with Belmont Parkway and nearby streets cordoned off, residents returning from work found they couldn't go home, while others in their homes were ordered to remain there during the siege of the house. Residents who were still unable to return home early Tuesday complained to police about their situations.

Officers had homed in on the house after someone was seen running inside after the shooting, said Hempstead police Lt. Frank McNamee.

Nassau homicide detectives and a Spanish-speaking detective were at the scene, all trying to piece together what happened, Nassau and Hempstead police said.

Village of Hempstead trustee Luis Figueroa was also there, adding that the mayor and deputy mayor had stopped by as well.

"It's not good," said Figueroa as he went back to his car. "This is a quiet neighborhood with working class families. It's a good neighborhood. Bad neighbors."

Along the police cordon, scores of residents and curious onlookers watched the drama unfold.

With Tania Lopez

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