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Security guard shot in head, is put on respirator

David Mareno, 22, was shot in the head

David Mareno, 22, was shot in the head while working as a security guard at El Rancho Bar and Grill in Hempstead, Saturday night. Photo Credit: James Carbone

A man who was shot in the head while working as a guard at a Hempstead bar Saturday night was fighting for his life Sunday, authorities said.

Security guard David Mareno, 22, opened the door of El Rancho Bar and Grill about 11:20 p.m. and was fired upon from outside, police said. The bullet struck him between the eyes, they said.

Mareno was taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where he remained on a respirator Sunday, according to Hempstead Village police, who are working with Nassau County police on the case.

No arrests have been made and no motive was apparent, police said.

Sunday, detectives spoke with merchants along a strip of shops near the bar, at 131B Fulton Ave., and scanned the zone for video cameras.

The bar, with tinted windows and a black door, was closed. A poster board advertising exotic dancers was on display.

A worker at a nearby clothing store said Mareno worked two jobs as a security guard. Next door, a bodega clerk said he was working when the shooting occurred but didn't hear the gunfire, only the screech of sirens as police approached.

The shooting came within hours of two separate violent incidents in the village, neither fatal: Warren Lewis, 17, was stabbed in the stomach after leaving a house party on Princeton Street that police had broken up, and a 15-year-old boy was shot in the hand around 5 p.m. near Allen and South Franklin streets.

"This can't continue," said Mayor Wayne Hall Sr. "These guns are just absolutely crazy."

In a speech last week, Hall said he would "personally take part in" efforts to eliminate gun crimes in the village, following the death of his own grandnephew in a drive-by shooting in Brooklyn.

Hall said code enforcement officers would investigate whether to cite El Rancho, which appeared to have granted or denied admission to customers more like a club and advertises exotic dancers, though it has permission to operate only as a bar/restaurant.

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