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Four wounded by gunfire at Brentwood birthday party

Police stand near cones marking the shell casings

Police stand near cones marking the shell casings in a shooting in which police said at least two young men were shot on Hilltop Drive in Brentwood about 12:30 Saturday morning. (Aug. 29, 2009) Photo Credit: James Carbone

As many as four masked people sprayed gunfire at birthday partygoers in Brentwood early Saturday morning, sending people scrambling for cover and leaving four wounded, one seriously.

Christina Lockwood, who was celebrating her 30th birthday, said the gathering at her home on Hilltop Drive was peaceful but became crowded late in the evening.

At 12:40 a.m., about 10 people were in the front lawn or sitting on the stairs when three or four suspects emerged from behind a van parked in the driveway of a house next door, Suffolk County police said. The group, who faces witnesses said were covered with something white, fired seven or eight shots, scattering partygoers.

Lockwood was standing in the front doorway when the attackers appeared out of the dark and shot from a distance of just a few feet.

"At first I thought it was firecrackers, but then I see all the people bleeding," said Lockwood, who was grazed in the leg but did not require hospitalization.

Three men, ages 21, 23, and 24, were wounded but treated and released from area hospitals. A fourth man, 19, was struck in the groin and remained hospitalized Saturday. One bullet broke through aluminum siding next to the front door and lodged in the frame of the house. Another broke a window and pierced a far wall of the house.

Neighbor Nina Johnson, 43, said she peeked with her son out a bathroom window after hearing shots and saw two men who did not do the shooting carrying shotguns down a driveway toward the front of the house.

"I heard one guy say, 'He tried to shoot me; he pointed the gun right at me,' " she said. "At that point we got out of the window."

Police said no weapons were found at the house.

Det. Lt. Matt Sullivan, commander of the Third Squad detectives, said the attack appeared to be gang related. Lockwood said she believed the shooters were three young men who she didn't know who had come uninvited. "They came in, they looked around, they left. A few minutes later the whole house is torn up," she said.

Police also are investigating whether the shooting is related to a drive-by shooting Thursday in Brentwood that left two teenagers critically wounded. Someone pulled up next to their car at Nimitz Avenue and Bradley Street and opened fire.

The shooter, in a car described as a gray or silver sedan, possibly a Nissan Maxima or Altima, fired at least twice, hitting the teens in the head before the sedan sped away, police said.

The shooting occurred about 10:40 p.m. The two victims were in stable condition Saturday in Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, police said.

With Keith Herbert

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