According to Nassau County police, a 19-year-old man was shot dead Wednesday afternoon at a Hempstead McDonald's. Credit: Jim Staubitser

A 19-year-old man was shot dead in broad daylight Wednesday afternoon at a McDonald's in the heart of Hemptead Village and police were searching for a possible assailant seen fleeing afterward, authorities said.

The victim was "absolutely" targeted, Stephen Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of the Nassau Homicide Squad, said at the scene.

Police were called to the McDonald's at 340 Peninsula Blvd. at 3:48 p.m. after reports of multiple shots fired, Nassau police spokesman Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said. 

Police found the victim with multiple gunshot wounds and he was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:54 p.m. The victim was not identified pending notification of next of kin. 

On Wednesday night, Hempstead Village police and Nassau homicide detectives continued canvassing the area outside the restaurant, which sits at a Y-shaped corner where Peninsula Boulevard meets Franklin Street. Behind the McDonald's are several big box retailers at the Hempstead Village Commons shopping center and a large parking lot. Investigators examined a red Hyundai struck by gunfire in the shooting. 

Hempstead Town Hall sits a block east.

Police have not identified any suspects but witnesses said a possible assailant ran away after the shooting.

Salvador Castro, 53, of Hempstead, said his wife and 6-year-old daughter were inside the restaurant ordering when they heard gunshots and saw the shooter running away. They came outside to find the back car window of their Hyundai shot out. His wife was relieved they weren't caught in the crossfire, Castro said.

"It's scary."

Yellow police tape surrounded the parking lot, cordoning off the McDonald's. About a dozen bystanders arrived after the shooting and stood behind police tape.

Hempstead school board member Lamont Johnson called the shooting, which occurred shortly after school let out, a “brazen” act.

“How much worse can it be than a 19-year-old killed steps away from a restaurant in broad daylight?” Johnson asked as he stood behind the police tape. “It’s a heinous act and people don’t care.” 

Hempstead High School is about a mile west of the McDonald's.

Johnson noted the history of violence in the village, such as a 12-year-old shot in a family's living room in 2015 and frequent reports of shots fired near Terrace Avenue.

He said police are adding officers and increasing patrols in the area to try to curb the violence. 

“Unfortunately, it’s not that shocking and it’s becoming too commonplace," he said. "It’s a sad reality."

With Robert Brodsky

Correction: Stephen Fitzpatrick is commanding officer of the Nassau Homicide Squad. An earlier version of this story misstated his title.

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

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Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Summer tourism ... Shark sightings on LI . . . Dino-Mite Vintage . . . What's Up on Long Island . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

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