Victims' families heartsick over Laffer news

From left, Raymond Ferguson, Jennifer Mejia, Bryon Sheffield

From left, Raymond Ferguson, Jennifer Mejia, Bryon Sheffield and Jaime Taccetta: The four were killed by David Laffer as he robbed Haven Drugs for prescription painkillers on June 19, Father's Day. (Credit: Handouts)

The families of those killed in the Medford pharmacy shootings were heartsick Thursday to learn a detective pressed for David Laffer's guns to be taken away five months before he fatally shot four people inside a drugstore on Father's Day.

Danny Taccetta, whose sister Jaime was shot upon entering Haven Drugs, said someone should have acted on Det. Kenneth Ripp's request that the pistol licensing bureau take away the guns.

"Obviously, he tried but they didn't follow through," Danny Taccetta said, speaking of the licensing bureau. "I think they should be held accountable."

Taccetta's father, Ralph, called the findings frustrating.

"Me and my daughter were so close," he said. "That was my baby girl. It's like part of me is dead."

Taccetta, 33, of Farmingville, was gunned down when she walked into the pharmacy hours before she was to host a barbecue with her fiance. She was months away from getting married and left behind two daughters.

Jennifer Mejia, 17 and just days from her high school graduation, worked at the pharmacy. She was the second person Laffer shot, police say.

Her father, Rene Mejia of Medford, called the detective's statements "upsetting."

"The system has failed," Mejia said.

But the family, devout Catholics, don't want to wallow in bitterness.

Jennifer Mejia, a missionary, used to pray alone in her room every night.

Now, in her honor, her family gathers in her bedroom to say the rosary.

"There is not that much that we can do," Rene Mejia said. "We have to deal with this for the rest of our lives. We have to move on, but it will never be normal anymore."

Jennifer Mejia's sister, Lesley, 16, who wants to work in the medical field as a way to honor her sister, said her faith has not been shaken.

"I have my days when I just can't understand how this could happen to her," she said. "We just pray to God to help us live through what is going on."

The family of slain Medford resident Bryon Sheffield, 71, declined to comment.

Pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, 45, of Centereach, was Laffer's first victim.

Ivanhoe Gadpaille, Ferguson's longtime friend, said, "They should have revoked his license and his guns long ago. Look at all the family and friends of people that were affected because of this one little tiny crack in the system."

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