A 15-year-old boy was shot and killed in Hempstead early Monday morning, Nassau police said.
Joshua Guzman’s death came as a surprise to his father, Raul Guzman.
Raul Guzman, of Hempstead Village, said he did not know his son, a 10th-grader at Uniondale High School, was dead until he called the teen’s cellphone Monday.
“I called my son to be sure he’s in school,” said Guzman, 44, a tractor-trailer driver. “When I called, the detective answered the phone.”
Nassau police said the teenager was found about 1 a.m. in a gutter at Linden and Laurel avenues.
“I heard one pop,” said Reyna Arevalo, a print shop worker and mother of two who lives across the street from the crime scene. “I was scared.”
She said she did not go out to look, but another neighbor did.
“He was lying by the pole,” said the neighbor, who declined to give her name, referring to a utility pole. “A young boy shot for nothing.”
At the house where his son grew up, Guzman talked of how he had to identify his son’s body. Seeing the bullet wound gave him goose bumps, a surreal feeling that the boy who smiled a lot and loved to eat, especially Chinese food, was gone.
“I couldn’t believe it,” the father said.
He said his wife learned of Joshua’s death while she was in the hospital with a fractured spine from a car crash about a week ago. “She cried too much,” Guzman said.
Sunday when he got back from work, Guzman said, he told his son not to leave the house for the rest of the day, and Joshua replied, “I won’t I have to go to school tomorrow.”
He said his son must’ve left while he was asleep because he didn’t hear anything.
He said his son was not into gangs and drugs, but he worried about Joshua because recent immigrants have been trying to “brainwash” youth into joining gangs. “My son is a good kid,” Guzman said.
He said he has no idea why anyone would want to harm his son, but looking back, the father said, he remembers seeing a red Toyota RAV4 parked across the street about 4 p.m. Sunday for an hour, with the four occupants constantly looking at his house.
“I think somebody came and took my son,” Guzman said.
Now, the house that the Salvadoran immigrant bought for his family is too much for his wife, he said. “She doesn’t want to live here,” Guzman said. “Too many memories.”
But the father said he doesn’t want to leave and he pointed out something on a radiator, words that his son has scrawled in black marker when he was younger: “Joshua Guzman house.”
Guzman said he does not want to leave. For him, the house has memories too.
Detectives said anyone with information about the shooting contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.