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Couple with child in stroller shot at in Hempstead, police say

Nassau County police investigate the yard where three

Nassau County police investigate the yard where three shots were fired at a young couple walking with their 1-year-old child in a stroller Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Hempstead Village. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A masked gunman fired three shots at a young couple walking with their 1-year-old child in a stroller Thursday afternoon in Hempstead, then pointed his weapon at a potential witness before fleeing, village police said.

Police continued searching Thursday night for the gunman, who wore a black mask, T-shirt and sweatpants and came from between two apartment complexes on Front Street about 12:25 p.m., near Ingraham Boulevard.

"He calls out to the male target by name . . . and he fires three shots at them," Police Chief Michael McGowan said. "They miss." As the shooter ran away toward the back of the complexes, someone from a ground-floor apartment saw him from a few feet away, the chief said. "There's a woman at the window," he said. "He sees her and turns and points his gun at her. . . . She drops to the floor."

The gunman jumped into a black, midsized vehicle waiting in the parking lot behind the apartments, police said. No one was injured, but the bullets struck a parked car and a law office, police said.

The shooting occurred about a mile from where a bullet fired into a Dartmouth Street home nearly two weeks ago hit Dejah Joyner, 12, killing her.

Thursday's shooting was uncommon for several reasons, police said. It did not happen in a trouble "hot spot" of the village, and it occurred during the day, with a child in the firing line, McGowan said.

Investigators are looking into a motive, he said, but the intended target, known to police, refused to cooperate. No shell casings were found, indicating the gun may have been a revolver, which leaves casings in the chamber, McGowan said.

One concern is that the shooting could have been retaliation, he said. The motive for most of the village's shootings has been retaliation, he said.

Detectives investigating Dejah's death are examining whether ongoing warfare between the Crips and the Bloods street gangs could be the motive, police said, and they also trying to determine whether someone at the home was targeted by the shooter.

Police said Thursday's suspect is in his mid-20s, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and 145 pounds. Police ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.

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