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Police: Christmas Day slay suspect arrested in Virginia

Hempstead police investigate the scene of a homicide

Hempstead police investigate the scene of a homicide in Hempstead on Dec. 25, 2017. Antoine Foster is in custody in connection with the fatal shooting, police said. Credit: Composite photo: News 12 / Brian Trettien, left, and NCPD

A reputed gang member suspected of firing the shot that killed a father in Hempstead on Christmas Day is in custody after his arrest in Virginia, according to police.

Authorities said Antoine Foster will be arraigned Friday in District Court in Hempstead on a second-degree murder charge following his arrest Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia.

Foster, 17, of Hempstead, was a member of the Bloods street gang and fired at a vehicle he thought belonged to a rival gang at about 6:20 p.m. on Christmas on Terrace Avenue, police said.

The gunfire fatally wounded Rafael Cepeda, 35, of Hempstead, police said.

Shameq Sullins, 16 at the time, acted as the “spotter” for Foster, according to police, who arrested him about a week after Christmas.

Sullins pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and online court records show he is being held without bail.

Although Cepeda lived on the same street as Sullins, police said, it was unclear whether they knew each other.

Cepeda’s girlfriend, Imani Mazyck, said at the time that both she and her boyfriend knew Sullins from the neighborhood and described the pair as “friendly.”

Mazyck said Cepeda was on his way to pick up his 11-year-old daughter from the Long Island Rail Road station a few blocks away when he was shot.

Genevra Dommermuth, 28, of Elmont, who had been a longtime friend of Cepeda, said in an interview Thursday that Cepeda’s sister is raising his daughter, who is now 12.

She said family and friends were pleased about the latest development in the case.

“Everyone’s very relieved that they finally got him,” she said.

With William Murphy

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