This story was originally published in Newsday on Dec. 8, 1993.
The shooting spree struck the Long Island Rail Road at one of the busiest times and at a critical location, creating havoc for thousands of rush-hour commuters on a line that affects three branches of the railroad.
"We're still trying to recover," said LIRR spokesman Mike Charles, three hours after the shooting. "Thousands of people were impacted. There are extensive delays." Taking the brunt of the tie-ups were the Port Jefferson, Oyster Bay and Ronkonkoma branches, he said.
Service is not expected to be affected today, but last evening some trains started two hours behind schedule.
Public announcements informed passengers that delays were caused by "police activity at the Merillon Avenue Station," but no details were given. Many of the riders learned about the tragedy when they called home.
Management officials will be sent today to each station along the main line to answer questions, LIRR spokeswoman Susan McGowan said.
"This is very tragic; it's highly unusual, the likes of which we've never seen in LIRR history," McGowan said.
The railroad is also offering passengers the services of its employee counseling program, she said. Phone numbers for the program are (718) 990-8228 and (718) 990-7577. The Nassau County Mental Health Association is offering crisis counseling at (516) 489-2322.
A hush settled over Charley O's bar in Penn Station as the television spread the news that four people had died. "Four people. Oh God," people kept saying in shock.
Jamie Roberts, who works for a publishing company in Manhattan, said that her parents and those of her co-worker and friend Drew Teitler had been worried. "That's the train we usually take," Roberts said.
Teitler told her boyfriend over the telephone, "Pick me up; I am taking the 8:19 to Port Washington. No guns."
At Jamaica station, shocked riders swapped rumors until trains started running again at about 8:15 p.m.
The trains that had started their journeys before the shooting occurred crept along the tracks until the situation at the Merillon Avenue station was cleared up. As the 6:35 p.m. train to Hicksville crawled past Merillon, Teresa Sagalow, an attorney, saw shattered glass, and other passengers said they could see blood on the other train's floor. "It's pretty scary," Sagalow said.
Contributing to this story were: Sylvia Adcock, James Bernstein, Rebecca Blumenstein, Rick Brand, Joe Calderone, Tom Demoretcky, Maureen Fan, Dan Fagin, Susan Forrest, Alexander C. Kafka, Wendy Lin, Alfred Lubrano, John McDonald, Bill Mason, Phil Mintz, Shirley E. Perlman, Liam Pleven, Jim Puzzanghera, Yolanda RodriVguez, Andrew Smith, Estelle Lander Smith, Otto Strong, Curtis L. Taylor, Beth Whitehouse, Kinsey Wilson, Olivia Winslow, Ellen Yan and Gwen Young.