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Long IslandCrime

Cops: Shots fired near school board meeting at Hempstead High

Police investigate a shooting on Peninsula Boulevard in

Police investigate a shooting on Peninsula Boulevard in Hempstead on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Gunshots rang out at two locations outside Hempstead High School Thursday night just before a school board meeting was about to start on campus, authorities said.

No one was hit by gunfire after a volley of gunshots were fired about 6:45 p.m. on President Street, across from the high school, and on Peninsula Boulevard, about a block east, Hempstead Village police said.

A total of 32 shots were heard by ShotSpotter, police said. Hempstead police said 20 shell casings were recovered and the two shootings may be related.

When school board meeting attendees arrived for the 7 p.m. meeting, the school gates were locked and a security guard later told a Newsday photographer the school was on lockdown. A short time later, the gates were opened and the meeting started.

One bullet shattered a living room window of a home on President Street while a 79-year-old resident was sipping tea in her kitchen, she said.

“Right now, I’m shaking,” said Jean Gretton, who had no idea the noise outside her home was gunfire.

She said she was in the kitchen at the time while her husband was in the bedroom.

“I was sitting alone drinking tea and I heard all this noise,” said Gretton, waiting to talk to detectives. “I couldn’t run because I had surgery, and I have to walk with my walker. I was calling for help and I was bawling.”

Her husband ran out of the bedroom, Gretton said, but they didn’t see what had happened outside.

Defense attorney Fred Brewington, whose office is on Peninsula Boulevard, said he was talking to a client in his office when they heard gunfire. Bullets struck his client’s vehicle, he said.

“We heard about eight to 12 shots,” Brewington said, “and my client’s car out front is being reviewed because his back window got shot out and there are bullet holes in his car.”

Other details were not immediately available as investigators searched the area and tried to piece together what happened.

Hempstead’s school board meeting was expected to be the first time both factions on the divided board have faced each other since its political control switched late last month.

With John Hildebrand

CORRECTION: Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this story misstated where Fred Brewington and his client were talking when the client’s vehicle was hit by gunfire; they were talking inside Brewington’s office.

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