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Long Beach police seek shooter in dog breeder slaying

Officials investigate the scene where a man was

Officials investigate the scene where a man was shot to death on Hudson Street in Long Beach, Monday. (March 22, 2010) Credit: J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Investigators believe they may know who killed an aspiring dog breeder in Long Beach during a brazen daytime shooting on his girlfriend's block, a source familiar with the case said yesterday.

The male suspect is said to have shot the dog breeder, Ernest Cummings. He is being sought by police based on information provided by witnesses in the community, the source said.

Cummings, 46, was slain Monday afternoon on East Hudson Street, next to the Long Island Rail Road station.

The gunfire may have stemmed from a dispute over a dog, Long Beach City Manager Charles Theofan said on Monday.

The case is being investigated by the Long Beach City Police and the Nassau County Police Department's homicide squad. The county's chief police spokesman, Det. Lt. Kevin Smith, declined to comment Tuesday.

Cummings' girlfriend, Wanda Brooks, 52, said Tuesday in an interview that she had heard three gunshots Monday afternoon and found her dying boyfriend bleeding on the street.

"Back to back, back to back, back to back," said Brooks, a retired bank teller, of the gunfire. "It's so crazy!"

Brooks said she believes her boyfriend and the shooter were arguing because the shooter didn't have his dog leashed.

Referring to Cummings, she said: "He was such a dog lover, which makes it so ironic that this happened over a dog."

On the bloodstained grass where Cummings died, his grieving neighbors set up a makeshift memorial with flowers, candles and a metal crucifix, all placed in a cardboard box. The candles were still burning Tuesday afternoon.

"He liked the dogs," said a distraught neighbor, Ruth Horne, 47. "He was good people."