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Long IslandCrime

Road rage possibly led to fatal shooting in Plainview, Nassau police say

On Thursday, Nassau police Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of the homicide unit, spoke at a news conference asking for the public’s help in solving the case of a Plainview man shot to death outside his home Tuesday night in Plainview. (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

A Plainview man shot to death in front of his home may have had a dispute with another motorist before he was gunned down, Nassau police said Thursday.

Justin Gottlieb, 27, was shot multiple times at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on Margaret Drive East, as he tried to exit his red Ford Explorer, police said.

On Thursday, police were still searching for a suspect or suspects in the shooting, authorities said.

Investigators asked anyone to come forward who may have witnessed an altercation between Gottlieb and another motorist after he left his job in Jericho and headed home.

"Somewhere between Jericho and Plainview something happened between Justin and a white four-door sedan,” said Nassau police Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of the homicide unit.

Asked if it was a case of road rage, Fitzpatrick said it's a possibility.

“Whether it looked like a road rage or some kind of argument or anything that looks out of the ordinary,” he said. “We are asking for the public’s help.”

Fitzpatrick said the victim had no indications of anything awry in his life.

Gottlieb was “pretty much a work and home type of guy," he said.

At the scene Tuesday night, Fitzpatrick said a vehicle pulled up next to the Explorer, shots rang out and Gottlieb was hit by gunfire. He was pronounced dead at a hospital just over an hour later.

Investigators combed through "various videos in the neighborhood" Tuesday night for clues, Fitzpatrick said at the time.

Childhood friends of Gottlieb described him Thursday as the type of person who brought others together. Gottlieb was an upbeat type, a great athlete and prepping to get married, his friends said.

"He was fantastic fiance and boyfriend," said Chris Hansen, 27, of Old Bethpage. "He was the kind of guy that trickled into any friend group just because how he was. He didn't hold grudges. He wasn't an angry guy."

Alex Rosen, 26, another childhood friend, remembered Gottlieb as one of the nicest people he'd ever met.   

"He was a selfless person," said Rosen, also of Old Bethpage. "He did what he could for any of his friends. … He was a big family guy, always was and always would have been."

Both agreed the loss of Gottlieb would leave a "drastically gaping hole" in the fabric of the close-knit Plainview community. They cited a GoFundMe page set up to help his fiance as proof of the way those who knew Gottlieb felt about him. The page initially sought $2,100 but had swelled to more than $80,000 in donations Thursday night, they said.

"It's a hole that will never be filled ever again," Hansen. "I'll never be OK about this."

With Deborah Morris

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