Medford murders a singularly senseless act

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Antonia Mejia, the mother of 18-year old Jennifer

Antonia Mejia, the mother of 18-year old Jennifer Mejia, is escorted away from the scene at Haven Drugs Pharmacy in Medford. (June 19, 2011) Photo Credit: James Carbone

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Joye Brown Newsday columnist Joye Brown

Joye Brown has been a columnist for Newsday since 2006. She joined the newspaper in 1983 and has

There's something awful in the power of a single act.

A point driven home most cruelly by the Father's Day slaying of four people in a Medford pharmacy.

A student. A mother. A pharmacist. An elder.

This was an equal opportunity slaying, one willfully blind to both gender and generation.

One gunman, police said, took one blue-sky beautiful summer morning to end four lives. To rob four people of hours and days, months and years of what-could-have-been.

Jennifer Mejia, 17, of Medford, could have -- should have -- been preparing for prom and high school graduation. Jaime Taccetta, 33, of Farmingville, a mother of two daughters, could have been prepping for her wedding.

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Raymond Ferguson, 45, of Centereach, a pharmacist, could have made it home after work. And Bryon Sheffield, 71, of Medford, could have completed the oh-so simple act of picking up a prescription.

Four ordinary Long Islanders readying to do ordinary things. Two of them -- Mejia and Taccetta -- readying to mark milestones oft taken for granted.

There was no reason for the four to remain together after leaving the pharmacy. But that changed Sunday morning, too.

Because one act also turned Mejia, Taccetta, Ferguson, Sheffield -- and their grieving families -- into victims.

Monday, John Brown, uncle and godfather of bride-to-be Taccetta, parked on the street near the medical complex where the pharmacy is located.


"Nobody's talking about Jaime," he said. "She was a beautiful, beautiful woman and nobody's talking about her."

Brown had the heart-wrenching job of bringing his own daughter, Miranda, to the scene.

"She felt she had to come, that she had to try to find some closure, some way to begin to say goodbye," he said.

Brown's daughter -- who was to be Taccetta's maid of honor -- sat in the car with two other passengers.

All three appeared to be stunned, as should be expected.

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Because there's no preparation for a godfather, uncle, mother, father, husband, wife, brother, fiance, aunt, nephew, classmate, teacher, mentor, friend or maid of honor to confront such an act.

According to Suffolk County police Commissioner Richard Dormer, the student, the mother, the pharmacist and the elder did nothing to provoke the shootings.

Which makes their deaths all the more incomprehensible.

"I don't understand, I don't understand," said Pat Zarone, who stood with her husband, Andy, in the complex Monday while waiting for his podiatrist's office to open.

"The police say it was drugs, so why not take the drugs and leave everyone in there alone?" she said.

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That's the question others have been asking, too.

But there's no way to make quick sense out of so powerful, so awful, an act.

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