Nassau police investigators are still trying to determine the kind of gun used to kill a 12-year-old Hempstead girl because they weren't able to find shell casings at the scene, a source said Tuesday.
"The proper evidence wasn't recovered," a law enforcement source told Newsday. "The shell casing could have stayed in the car, the shell casing could have stayed in the gun."
Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter Tuesday declined to confirm that shell casings weren't recovered. Krumpter has said police had yet to identify the type of gun used in the Friday night shooting of Dejah Joyner.
"I wouldn't even acknowledge that they did or did not recover shell casings," Krumpter said. "There could be a lot of reasons why a shell casing would not be or be recovered. It could be that we didn't locate it. It could be a weapon that doesn't discharge shell casings."
Krumpter, who said the department's top brass is being briefed twice daily on the "progressing" investigation, said police have received a "significant number" of tips, but he declined to say whether they had resulted in any solid leads.
Hempstead Village Police Chief Michael McGowan said he could not comment on an "ongoing investigation."
Dejah was shot in the head Friday night as she ate dinner in the living room of her Dartmouth Street home, police said. A single bullet pierced the glass bay window of her home, striking Dejah, police said. She died 26 hours later at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, police said. No arrests have been made.
Investigators are examining whether ongoing warfare between the Crips and the Bloods street gangs could be the motive for the shooting, police said. Investigators are also trying to determine whether someone at the home was targeted by the shooter, police said.
A wake for Dejah is scheduled for Friday, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Union Baptist Church, 24 Clinton C. Boone Pl. in Hempstead, followed by a funeral, Hempstead Town officials said Tuesday.
A vibrant memorial remained on the front porch of Dejah's home Tuesday, with more than two dozen candles and signs proclaiming the young girl who loved to dance, a "princess," and saying "Long Live Dejah" with the hashtag #LLD.
Dejah's parents, who have appeared at church vigils for their daughter -- her father clutching a stuffed animal -- were among about 150 people gathered outside Hempstead Village Hall Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil.
The Joyner family held each other as they wiped away tears and were embraced by clergy and elected officials. Mayor Wayne Hall said the street where Dejah lived would be named after her.
"We will not allow this senseless violence to continue. We are outraged by this senseless killing of Dejah," Hall said. "We should be outraged anytime someone is killed in Hempstead. We want it to stop.
With John Asbury