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Police: Dispute led to ex-friend's fatal shooting

Justin Rojas, 22, of Mastic was charged with

Justin Rojas, 22, of Mastic was charged with second-degree murder and will be arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Central Islip, police said. Credit: SCPD

An escalating personal dispute between once close friends ended in the fatal shooting of a Mastic Beach man nearly four months ago, according to Suffolk police.

Suffolk homicide detectives arrested Justin Rojas, 22, late Wednesday afternoon near William Floyd Parkway in Mastic and charged him with second-degree murder in the death of Justin Liggon, 24. Liggon was found by officers at a residential intersection in Mastic Beach shortly before 1 a.m. on Sept. 22. He'd been shot once in the chest and once in the arm.

Det. Sgt. Thomas Groneman of the Homicide Squad said information provided by the community as well as at least one eyewitness led to Rojas' arrest.

One of Liggon's four siblings, Brian Liggon, 30, of Mastic Beach, said his brother and Rojas had known each other since elementary school and attended William Floyd High School together. When he was having trouble at home as a teenager, he even lived for a time in Rojas' family's home.

"They were actually good friends," Brian Liggon said. "My whole family is taking it really hard. Nothing that happens now can bring him back."

Rojas pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday in First District Court in Central Islip and was held without bail. His attorney, Jason Bassett of Central Islip, said Rojas - who prosecutors said signed a confession - denied doing the shooting or voluntarily making any admission to police.

The Liggon family said they did not know what led to the shooting. Groneman said the pair had a series of escalating, though not physical, interactions over the previous week but the nature of the dispute was still unclear. Rojas is due back in court Tuesday.

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