Brentwood school officials are forming a partnership with Suffolk police after a 16-year-old student was involved in a possible gang-related shooting near the public library last week, district officials said Monday.
At a news conference at the Brentwood district administration building, Superintendent Levi McIntyre said the district is doing all it can to ensure the safety of students and staff.
He said police alerted the district of the shooting after it occurred about 2 p.m. Friday and recommended a lockdown of the administration building, the high school and South Middle School. The district complied.
“I need to emphasize to the parents, to the community that safety of students and staff . . . is of primary concern,” McIntyre said. “Please be assured that we will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that every child, every staff member and every visitor that comes to our building is safe.”
In addition, McIntyre said random, unannounced searches will be conducted with metal detectors at all schools and the district also has activated the Brentwood community tip line, which can be used to give confidential tips. The number is 631-972-1555.
Lashawn Maynard, 45, vice president of the community service agency Brentwood Youth Activities, said at the district’s announcement Monday the community group operates just two blocks from where the shooting occurred and serves about 1,500 kids ages 5 to 17 in athletic and after-school programs.
She said her own sons, ages 12 and 16, are concerned. “They are ready to move,” Maynard said. Her 16-year-old son was shot in the elbow with a pellet gun last year at the high school after another student smuggled it in and began shooting because “he was mad at certain kids,” she said.
“I tried to explain to them that it’s not like mommy can sell her house and move,” Maynard said.
DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville), presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature; and Deputy Police Commissioner Tim Sini also attended the announcement.
“It’s important that every child in this community has a safe environment where they can play and grow and . . . be children,” Gregory said.
He said the county has to provide the resources to tackle gang and gun violence.
“This is too important and a battle and a fight that we can’t afford to lose,” Gregory said.
Sini called the partnership with police “critical” in combating violence. He said police will soon announce details of an aggressive plan to combat crime in the area, which will include federal partnerships.
Police said Carlos Argueta, 16, of Brentwood was involved in a dispute on the corner of Fourth Street and Third Avenue when he shot a 22-year-old man in the abdomen. School officials confirmed Argueta was a student at the high school that had been suspended when the incident occurred.
The corner where the incident took place borders the Brentwood Public Library but is not on the library’s property.
Police said there were several witnesses but no other injuries.
The victim was transported to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore with non-lifethreatening injuries.
Argueta is charged as an adult with second-degree assault, criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence.
He is being held with bail set at $80,000 cash or $160,000 bond.
Police are investigating the origin of the dispute and whether it was gang-related.