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Cops: Killing of NCC student possibly connected to dispute over drugs

Jay Patel, 19, a business student at Nassau Community College, was discovered fatally shot on a street in Queens, the NYPD said. Patel, of Glen Oaks, had told his family he was headed to the gym less than an hour before he was found, the family told Newsday. (Credit: Jim Staubitser)

NYPD investigators believe drug dealing may have been involved in the shooting death of a Nassau Community College student whose body was found on a Queens street, a law enforcement source said.

Police officers from the 105th Precinct responding to a 911 call Wednesday about an unconscious male on 268th Street in the Floral Park section of Queens found the body of Jay Patel, 19, who lived just over a block away on 267th Street. 

Patel, who studied business at NCC, had told his family he was headed to the gym less than an hour before officers found his body, his family said.

Police said Patel, suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen, was taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators were searching for the occupant or occupants of a red Toyota Camry seen in surveillance video from the area, said NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea. The investigation into Patel's killing was in its early stages, Shea said, declining to comment further.

A law enforcement source said investigators were looking into the possibility drugs were at the root of a dispute that led to Patel’s death, but they didn't provide additional details.

An NCC representative confirmed Thursday that Patel was a student for the fall 2019 semester.

A man who answered the phone at the Patel home Thursday identified himself as Prakash Patel, an uncle of the victim. He said the last time he saw Jay Patel, the college student asked him to "tell his parents 'I'm going [to the] gym.'

"We have no idea what happened," Prakash Patel said.

The family learned of the shooting from neighbors who saw the police crime scene and told them Jay Patel had been shot, he said.

Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.

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