3-year-old shot, gunman dead after hours-long police standoff in Ridge

Janice Yu Image
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Bodycam video reveals police rushing to save life of child on Long Island
New bodycam video shows how police officers saved the life of a child shot by a stray bullet through a wall. Chantee Lans has the story.

RIDGE, Suffolk County (WABC) -- A 3-year-old girl is in the hospital after she was shot during a gunman's standoff with Suffolk County police.

Officials say detectives went to an apartment in Ridge to investigate the murder of a woman in Central Islip back in June.

In that incident, Shayna Staton, 39, was found dead between a bed and a wall with multiple gunshot wounds, officials said.

Things took a violent turn Tuesday evening as law enforcement began talking to the suspect's friend. They soon realized the suspect was inside of this apartment on Ticonderoga Court.

Officials say that's when detectives asked everyone in the apartment, including the children who were present, to come outside. Gary Jones of North Amityville emerged from another room with a gun and fired at detectives, authorities said.

Just after 8:30 p.m., one of those shots went through a wall into a neighboring apartment, striking a girl named Lovely, officials said.

After an hours-long standoff, authorities sent a robot into the apartment and discovered the 38-year-old had taken his own life.

He was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Officials say Lovely underwent surgery for her abdominal wound at the hospital and is in stable condition.

Authorities say the little girl was shot through the wall when a suspect opened fire at Long Island detectives. Janice Yu reports.

Lovely's father, James Toney, says everything happened so fast for his family, who was enjoying a quiet evening at home. He says his daughter was just standing on the couch and he only realized what happened to her when he saw blood.

"I didn't know what to do except to grab her and rush her out of the house. She's a strong trooper, she stood there. And then it dawned on me," Toney said. "Cops were already out here, I guess something was going on next door."

Toney showed Eyewitness News where the bullet came through his apartment. He says the bullet went through the back of the couch before it hit his daughter, another wall and then finally dropped in a closet.

Lovely's mother and older brother were also home at the time.

Toney says he was actually shot during a home invasion a few years ago and has PTSD from that. He says that since Lovely is young, he hopes she will recover from this.

Suffolk Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said police officers heroically rushed the child to the hospital. As one drove, the other took life-saving measures to control the bleeding.

Harrison said he believes those measures saved the Lovely's life.

A weapon recovered at the scene matched the bullets used to kill the Central Islip victim in June. Gary Jones was her boyfriend.

Jones has prior arrests for robbery, felony drug possession and grand larceny auto in Suffolk, Nassau and New York City.

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