A Central Islip teenager was found shot dead on a street Tuesday morning by officers responding to a 911 call about gunfire, Suffolk County police said.
Jonathan Cardona-Hernandez, 16, was lying on Nicoll Avenue, south of Messina Street, when police arrived shortly after the 911 call at 5:50 a.m., homicide detectives said.
Detectives continued working Tuesday night in the field to find the shooter, police said, and other details were not released because of the ongoing investigation.
The teen's aunt Reyna Hernandez said police came to her Central Islip home, where he lived along with his 9-year-old brother and mother. The distraught mother told cops to "get out, get out," Hernandez said.
The aunt said she went to the scene to try to see him, but detectives instead showed her a photo of her nephew, which is how she identified him.
Late Tuesday, she tried to figure out who hurt her nephew: "I don't know who. I don't know if somebody stopped him. I don't know if somebody passed him, then shot him. I only know . . . he died."
Hernandez, 43, said the incoming 12th-grader was not a troublemaker and loved playing basketball so much he thought he could get into sports in college. But he often left the house while the family slept, like he did Tuesday before dawn.
"I don't know exactly where he goes, but sometimes he said he goes to the deli," she said.
His favorite sandwich was the cheese and bacon, said the aunt, wondering whether he was heading to a deli when he was shot.
Even as she warned him to be careful, Hernandez said, she couldn't stop him from leaving the house so early. "Be careful," she said she'd tell him, and he'd answer "Don't worry."
"Children at this time, they don't listen," Hernandez said. "At 15 or 16, they say they know everything. Impossible."
The aunt said the teenager's mother was crying too much to speak. She said her nephew also has another brother and sister in Guatemala, and his divorced father lives in Arizona.
Central Islip has had a spike in shootings -- at least eight in May, said a law enforcement source familiar with the cases.
In the past, most of the shootings would happen at night, but what's worrisome lately is the increase in gunfire during the day, the source said: "The bad guys are more brazen."
Police have tried to shift officers to Central Islip, including a "strike team" of officers from other precincts during the midnight shift, the source said.
Police believe much of the mayhem is gang-related because it appears some shots fired were at alleged gang members' homes or toward gang members, the law enforcement source said: "A regular family in CI is not getting their house shot up."
Detectives ask anyone with information to call them at 631-852-6392 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477.
With John Valenti