A man was shot and killed near a building housing a Hempstead preschool program Friday afternoon, police said.
A 23-year-old man was shot multiple times by an unknown suspect shortly after noon at the intersection of Dartmouth Street and Stewart Avenue, police said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Police did not release the victim's name, but he was identified as Jeff Lee Jr. of Roosevelt by his mother, who said detectives called to say her son had been killed.
Yvonne Fletcher, also of Roosevelt, said Lee was her only child and that he left behind a 4-year-old daughter. Her son has had a tough time since his father died last year, and other relatives have been shooting victims, including an uncle shot in the head in a case of mistaken identity, she said.
"I'm really heartbroken," Fletcher said over the phone as she started to cry. "I need my son back. ... They shot my son up. Why? They killed my baby. Who's going to tell his daughter?"
The shooting started as a fight with other males, homicide Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick told News 12 Long Island.
"One of the males produced a handgun, shot several times, striking the other," he said.
At the scene, evidence markers showed where the rounds fell, at a T-intersection to Dartmouth Street, where Lee collapsed in the yard of a home, just steps from the site of a Head Start program run by the Economic Opportunity Commission of Nassau County, an anti-poverty agency.
Community activist Valerie McFadden, who documents Long Island murders and helps victims' families, said she rushed to the scene after being called by village officials to see if she could offer assistance to relatives.
"It was done in broad daylight, right in front of a day care," said McFadden, a Uniondale resident who posts remembrances of homicide victims on her Facebook page on the months of their deaths. "Those bullets could have went into the school and killed one of those Head Starters."
Detectives ask anyone with information about the shooting to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477. All callers will remain anonymous.
With Robert Brodsky