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Long IslandCrime

Freeport man attacked, killed at his home, Nassau police say

Nassau and Freeport police investigate a fatal attack

Nassau and Freeport police investigate a fatal attack on Laurette Lane in Freeport on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Freeport man was attacked at his home Tuesday and later died in what Nassau police said was a “targeted” killing.

Police officers arrived at about 3:45 p.m. to the home on Laurette Lane, said Det. Capt. John Azzata, head of the Nassau homicide unit.

“Uniformed officers responding here were confronted with the male, who was severely injured,” Azzata said. “This is not a random act of violence.”

Police said the victim, 55, owned the one-story home, but they would not release his name or how he died.

According to property records, the home is owned by Russell Johnson, 55. Neighbors said police told them Johnson was the victim.

Azzata said the man was targeted but declined to give information about a suspect in the killing. No one has been charged in connection with the man’s death, Azzata said, adding that the investigation is continuing.

Latecia Lee, who lives a few doors down from the crime scene, said Johnson lived with his son at the house. She said she went to Freeport High School with the son, but did not know either man well.

Lee said she happened to peek outside in the afternoon and saw several police officers arriving. Since she had guests, Lee said she did not pay much attention.

“There were no gunshots or anything,” said Lee, 23.

Police rarely come to her neighborhood, which is usually quiet, Lee said, calling the killing on her block “insane.”

But she said she was not too worried about her safety for now. “I just want to know what happened,” Lee said.

Another neighbor Harvey Friedman, described Johnson as a “very nice man” who commuted to a night job in Manhattan.

He said the two would talk about neighborhood issues and the damage done to their basements by superstorm Sandy, as well as vehicles throughout the neighborhood.

Friedman said Johnson was divorced.

“He couldn’t wait to retire,” Friedman said. “He wanted to retire and sell the house and cut his expenses.”

Neighbor Diann Ellis said she saw officers looking for evidence in Johnson’s front yard before investigators asked her and husband Tony if they saw anything.

“It’s just really sad,” she said.

Tony Ellis, a real estate agent, said he didn’t know Johnson well because he worked at night. Ellis said he tried to sell Johnson’s home about seven years ago until Johnson pulled it off the market.

The couple described Johnson as a quiet neighbor, dedicated to taking care of his son and also a jazz fan with a vinyl record collection that took up an entire wall of his basement.

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