Police said they found a 52-year-old man shot to death in front of a North Bellport home early Thursday -- the third suspected homicide in Suffolk County in less than a week and at least the fifth since Oct. 1.
Officers responding to a ShotSpotter gunfire alert at about 12:54 a.m. Thursday arrived to discover the body of Robert Burks in front of the home in the 500 block of Bellport Avenue, Suffolk police said.
Investigators have not released a motive and announced no arrests in the killing of Burks, who relatives said lived with his mother and had attended Bellport High School.
Burks' sister, Connie Burks, 54, also of North Bellport, said her brother was the father of two adult sons. He was unemployed but had worked as a machine operator, she said. "I can't wait for them to find out who did this," she said Thursday.
Burks' killing is at least the fifth homicide in Suffolk County since early October and the third since Saturday. His death also comes two months after a state crime report showed fatal shootings in Suffolk County had more than tripled and violent crimes committed with a firearm had climbed by more than 30 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2014.
The report from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services found that from January to June of this year, 10 people were killed by firearms in Suffolk, compared with three homicides in the first six months of 2014.
There were 29 homicides in Suffolk County in 2014, according to state crime numbers.
Since Saturday, three people including Burks have died as a result of a homicide.
Suffolk police arrested a 31-year-old Holbrook man Sunday in the stabbing death of his mother's boyfriend the night before at an apartment the three shared.
In Bohemia, an employee found a co-worker dead Tuesday morning from an apparent knife wound, police said. Authorities have not released a motive or announced an arrest.
The shooting of Burks is a mystery to his sister.
Although Connie Burks said she hadn't spoken to her younger brother in several months after a family squabble, she described him as someone who smiled often and was "an easygoing guy. He didn't really like confrontation."
Connie Burks said she saw her brother Wednesday at his Bellport Avenue home. They passed each other on their way in and out of the kitchen, but didn't speak. Looking back, Connie Burks said, she wished she'd talked to him. "I have to live with that every day," she said.
Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392 or Suffolk Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477.