Police: Ross Reisner, LI horseman, fatally shot in Setauket home

Investigators in Setauket probe the home, left, where

Investigators in Setauket probe the home, left, where homeowner Ross Reisner, 50, right, was fatally shot inside the previous night. (Sept. 25, 2013) (Credit: Howard Schnapp; Facebook)

A well-known Long Island horseman was gunned down in a targeted killing at his Setauket home when bullets pierced a first-floor window, police said Wednesday.

Ross Reisner, 50, a fixture in the Island's equestrian community, was in his home on Upper Sheep Pasture Road with his domestic partner when several shots were fired from outside about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, police said. One bullet struck Reisner in the chest. His partner was grazed in the arm but declined medical attention, police said.

Reisner was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he died.


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Neighbors and Reisner's family identified the longtime domestic partner as Kevin Murray.

"The shooter or shooters entered the yard and fired shots through a window," said Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, commander of the Suffolk homicide squad.

Though he would not identify a motive in the killing, Fitzpatrick said: "These individuals who were struck yesterday were targeted. . . . It was not a random act."

Michelle O'Toole, who lives across the street from Reisner and Murray, said she heard a shot, followed by a brief pause, then several more shots. She looked out her window but didn't see anything.

She said she ran outside and heard someone shouting from inside the house, "Please help him! Oh God! Please help him!"

She said police quickly arrived and shooed her back into the house, warning they were unsure whether a gunman was "still at large." She said officers, some with dogs, spent much of the night scouring the usually quiet neighborhood.

"It just baffles me that someone could do that and disappear," she said. "The idea that something like that could happen here -- it's alarming."

Ian Reisner said his brother's death was a "very, very big loss," for both his family and the equestrian community. He said his brother grew up in Queens and had lived on Long Island for 30 years.

"Ross was a nonaggressive, loving, happy-go-lucky person," the brother said.

Shanette Cohen, executive director of the Hampton Classic, where Reisner competed this year, said, "He was very well-liked and he was a real fixture in the Long Island equestrian community."

O'Toole said Reisner and Murray have lived on the street since at least 2002, when her family moved in. She said they completed an extensive renovation of the home, which had been a small ranch house, about six years ago.

"They had just built their dream home," O'Toole said.

In court papers filed last month, Murray alleged he had been harassed by Brett C. Knight of Manhattan, a former tenant who had rented a basement apartment in the Setauket home before the renovation, according to court papers and Reisner's family.

Knight, 45, was charged with second-degree harassment, a misdemeanor, but failed to appear before a judge in First District Court in Central Islip on Sept. 4 to answer the charge. There is a warrant for Knight's arrest.

Ian Reisner said Wednesday from his mother's Manhattan home that his brother and Murray had known Knight for about 20 years. A few years ago, he said, they rented their basement apartment to him for a couple of years.

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