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Cops still seek suspects in slaying of Jeremy Phillips

Investigators near the scene on Gray Avenue in

Investigators near the scene on Gray Avenue in Medford where they continued to probe a deadly shooting. (Aug. 8, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

Police Friday were still searching for two masked men who barged into a Medford home late Wednesday, shooting two men -- killing one.

Suffolk County police have not detailed any potential motive for the home-invasion murder, which left Jeremy Phillips, 25, of Coram, dead and his friend, Jermel Bonaparte, 28, of Medford, in a room at Stony Brook University Hospital with a gunshot wound to the face.

Three other people -- Olivia Smith, 23, who said Thursday she is the fiancee of Bonaparte; her 5-year-old son, who was asleep in an upstairs bedroom; and, Phillips' father -- were not injured in the shooting, which occurred about 10:45 p.m. at a home on Gray Avenue.

A pit bull named Pebbles was also shot and killed.

Smith said the gunmen were silent after Bonaparte answered a knock at the door, then burst in and opened fire -- faces covered by bandannas.

"They pushed my fiancee and the other guy ran up to my friend that was sitting on the couch," said Smith, who witnessed the shootings. "Then, my friend stood up and [the gunman] shot my friend."

Bonaparte tackled the man holding him at gunpoint, and it was during the struggle that he was shot, Smith said.

"It's all done in a couple of seconds," Suffolk police Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, commander of the homicide squad, said. Police said the motive for the shootings is a mystery.

"They didn't say they wanted any money," Smith said. "They didn't say they were looking for drugs. "They didn't say they were looking for anything."

Up until the time of the shootings, Smith said the day unfolded like any other.

"There was nothing weird about the day," she said.

According to Smith, Phillips and his father had dropped by her house a few hours before the shootings. Phillips and Bonaparte went to a birthday party up the block and the men had returned to Smith's house about 15 minutes before the gunmen showed up.

As far as she knew, Smith said, there were no fights or arguments at the birthday party.

Soon after the friends returned, Bonaparte answered the door and immediately raised his hands over his head when one of the intruders pointed a gun at him, Smith said. The other gunman rushed toward Phillips, who was lying on a living room couch and shot him at close range.

Both gunmen ran out of the house and into the street toward Beach Lane as Smith's pit bull, Honey, gave chase.

They wore red and black or dark hooded shirts and bandannas, Smith said.

Police are asking anyone with information about the shootings to call Homicide Squad detectives at 631-852-6392 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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