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Cops: Gunshots meant for worker in Heckscher Park hit town cart, building

Suffolk police investigate the scene on Sabbath Day

Suffolk police investigate the scene on Sabbath Day Path in Huntington on Tuesday after gunshots intended for a man in a town maintenance cart were fired from a vehicle into Heckscher Park, authorities said. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Gunshots fired into Heckscher Park in Huntington Monday and intended for a Suffolk County youth worker in a town maintenance cart instead hit the cart and a nearby building, police said Tuesday.

The 22-year-old male employee with a county jobs program was not injured after someone in a vehicle opened fire about 9:30 a.m. Monday at the corner of Main Street and Sabbath Day Path, according to Suffolk police.

Calls to 911 reporting the gunshots led to a lockout at district schools and lockdowns at several town buildings. The additional safety measures were lifted in the early afternoon Monday.

Police released no information Tuesday about a possible suspect, a description of the vehicle or why the worker was targeted.

Suffolk police Insp. William Scrima assured attendees at a Tuesday monthly community meeting at Huntington's Second Precinct that there "shouldn’t be any danger to the public."

Police will pursue a reckless endangerment charge if they arrest a suspect, Scrima said. When asked at the meeting if more serious charges would be considered, Scrima said that "right now the shooting is being handled as reckless endangerment … just about every case where a gun is fired and innocent people could be hurt, regardless of intent … is handled the same way."

The area where the shots were fired is across from Huntington Town Hall and near Old First Presbyterian Church. The park is a popular village gathering spot, with a large fenced-in playground for children in the middle, and home to the Heckscher Museum of Art. It's bordered by the church, residential homes and offices.

The worker had previously been a seasonal employee with Huntington, according to police. Huntington town officials said the man worked with the Suffolk County Department of Labor Out-of-School Youth Work Experience Program.

He was assigned to the town through the department's Minority Affairs Division, which previously placed him with the town as a temporary seasonal employee in summer 2020, officials said.

Officials with the Suffolk Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

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