A Huntington Station man was gunned down early Monday on a street corner following a Fourth of July celebration on his block, police said.
Neighbors along Clifford Court were winding down after a late-night fireworks blowout when Robert "Bobby" Sanders, 27, walked down the block from his home to the corner of Foxwood Drive shortly before 1:45 a.m.
Witnesses reported hearing Sanders arguing with a woman; a short time later, a series of gunshots were heard, police said. A driver saw Sanders, an unmarried father of three, lying next to a fire hydrant and called 911, police said. Sanders had been shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Late Monday morning, several of Sanders' relatives gathered at the spot where he fell and discussed what could have led to the shooting.
"He's not into trouble, he's not like that. He'll walk away," said his brother, Tarondy Sanders, 34, of Wyandanch, one of Bobby's four siblings. "If you knew him, you liked him. He was a good dude. He was loved by a lot of people."
Suffolk homicide detectives were still conducting interviews in the neighborhood through the morning. Det. Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky said police had no available description of a suspect, and no known motivation for the killing. It was unclear if Sanders had attended the Fourth of July gathering outside his home, where the shredded hulls of thousands of firecrackers and rockets still littered the street Monday.
"There is no indication this is gang-related, but it's still under investigation," Pelkofsky said. Sanders had cash and a cell phone when he was found, and robbery is not believed to be a motive. He has no known criminal history.
Sanders was a notable basketball player at Walt Whitman High School and has three sons, ages 9, 6 and 4, who live with their mother, his family said. Sanders shared a house with a cousin and other relatives, and worked occasional odd jobs. "He had things to live for," Tarondy Sanders said.
Freddy Chavarria, 59, who lives across the street from Sanders' house, was on a porch about a half-hour after the fireworks stopped, playing chess with friends, when he said he heard gunshots.
"It could have been firecrackers, but I knew that sounded different," he said. Chavarria said less than a minute later, he saw three young Hispanic males run down Clifford Court away from where Sanders was found. "They were laughing," he said. "I thought they could have shot someone, but I didn't know until I saw the body."
Another neighbor who asked to remain anonymous said he was home and awake when he heard Sanders arguing with a woman in the street.
"He got loud, then she got loud, then like a minute later it's pop-pop-pop," he said.
Police said they were still trying to confirm details of the neighbors' accounts, and seeking to speak with other witnesses. They requested anyone with information about the shooting to call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477.