Why two young men were shot dead while walking on a residential block in Freeport is a mystery that Nassau County police detectives and the dead men's grieving families are trying to solve.

The victims, Christopher Clark and Brendan Lawrence, were already dead Monday night when authorities arrived at the Jesse Street address where they were shot, police said.

Neighbors said they heard gunshots outside and then saw the two victims lying on the ground near their homes. The day after the shooting, blood still stained the sidewalk in front of Suzma Leon's home.

Leon said she hurried to keep her three children away from windows and in the back of the home after she heard the loud gunshots.

"I see the bodies over there, and I was so scared," Leon, 32, said.

Neighbor Bernard Frazier, who lives across the street from the shooting scene, said he heard the distinct sound of gunfire Monday.

"I just heard, like five shots - 'pow, pow, pow' - like that, five shots," Frazier said, adding that he didn't look out the window or go outside; he just waited for the authorities.

Clark, 22, and Lawrence, 20, longtime friends, each had a girlfriend in Freeport, but the women told authorities they have no idea why their boyfriends were in the area that night, said Det. Lt. Kevin Smith, a Nassau police spokesman. It wasn't even clear how the men, both longtime Westbury residents, traveled to Freeport Monday.

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At about 9 p.m., as Clark and Lawrence were walking in front of a home on Jesse Street, gunfire rang out, Smith said.

Clark collapsed onto hedges in front of the home; Lawrence, near the sidewalk and lawn, police said.

Both men were unemployed and lived with their parents, Smith said.

The men's friends were going in groups Tuesday afternoon to comfort surviving family members.

A woman who answered the door at Lawrence's Baldwin Drive home said the family was too devastated to talk about the shooting.

Kyle Adams came to Clark's home on Center Street and stood with a large group of friends recalling their friend. They also recalled the terrified feeling they had when they couldn't reach Clark and Lawrence by phone Monday after hearing of the shooting on the news.

Ali Bailey, another friend, said he'd also tried without success to call Clark that night.

"I called him like 20 times, back to back," Bailey said.

Their friends were already gone.