Suffolk police said Tuesday that the killers of Bohemia resident Steven Privitera went to his Sycamore Avenue home to rob another person living there.
Two armed masked men approached their intended victim, who was outside the home, shortly before 12:30 a.m. Monday, police said.
Citing an ongoing investigation, police said they would not disclose the identity of the person the masked men sought or of another resident who was then at the home.
The men demanded money and forced their target into the basement, police said. Privitera, 53, responded to the commotion and was shot after a struggle, they said.
"He interceded and died for his efforts," Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick said.
According to public records, interviews with neighbors and police, Privitera was married and the father of at least two children: a daughter in high school and an adult son.
Neighbors expressed relief at the news that the Privitera slaying wasn't the result of a random crime. But they were dismayed at such violence striking nearby.
"It's a tragedy; you feel for the family," said Bob DeMott, 63. "But it is a little reassuring that there aren't people going around targeting any house."
A man in the driveway of the Privitera home Tuesday told a reporter that the family did not wish to comment.
Nearby was parked a white truck. "Aftermath Inc.," was printed on the side, along with, "Specialists in Crime Scene and Tragedy Cleanup."