HEMPSTEAD, Long Island - A teenager has been charged in connection with the Christmas night murder of a father on Long Island.
The victim, 35-year-old Rafael Cepeda, was shot several times while on his way to pick up his daughter from an LIRR station in Hempstead.
Detectives determined that Cepeda was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was struck by a bullet intended for a gang member.
16-year-old Shameq Sullins was arraigned Wednesday morning on a charge of second degree murder and held without bail.
Authorities say Cepeda was walking to the station to pick up his 11-year-old daughter when ShotSpotter, an audio detection system, detected gunfire at 6:21 p.m.
Cepeda was discovered shot at 100 Terrace Avenue. He died later.
Sullins, acting as a "spotter" for his friend, identified a passing vehicle containing who he believed to be a rival gang member, according to investigators.
He let 17-year-old Antoine Foster know the vehicle was present, and Foster fired three shots from a 9 mm in the direction of that vehicle, police said.
Cepeda was in the line of fire of the vehicle and was hit by one of those rounds.
"He leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter because two individuals that are both gang members were shooting at a rival gang," said Commissioner Patrick Ryder, Nassau County Police Department.
Detectives identified the two suspects. Sullins was arrested Tuesday while Foster is still being sought. He is considered armed and dangerous.
Shotspotter was expanded just 30 days ago and it did help to catch one suspect, but the community is fed up with gang wars.
"He took a bullet for all of us," said Andrea Bess, a Hempstead resident. "Because, just like it was Raffy, it could've been me."
He is being remember as a doting dad, a hard worker, and a stellar human being, always helping and never hurting others.
"If you needed a hot meal, a hot shower, a place to spend the night, he was there for you," said Geneva Dommermuth, the victim's friend. "He never asked for anything in return. He just couldn't let someone suffer."
If anyone has any information, they are being asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.
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