Long Island officials vow justice after 19-year-old gunned down at McDonald's

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Friday, September 16, 2022
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Officials on Long Island are vowing to bring to justice the gunman who shot and killed a 19-year-old at a fast food restaurant Wednesday. Stacey Sager has the latest details.

HEMPSTEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- Officials on Long Island are vowing to bring to justice the gunman who shot and killed a 19-year-old at a fast food restaurant Wednesday.

The victim was gunned down at a McDonald's on Peninsula Avenue in Hempstead just before 4 p.m.

Authorities say the victim, identified as Hector Manuel Valencia Gomez, was in the parking lot when someone shot him multiple times.

Police believe Valencia Gomez was targeted and that the shooting was likely gang related.

"The perpetrator who did this heinous act will be caught and brought to justice," Hempstead Village Mayor Waylyn Hobbs, Jr., said. "I also hope and pray that our DA's office and our judges would stop giving people slaps on the hands or the wrists when they carry guns and commit these crimes."

Police patrols have been increased at schools in Hempstead to ensure the safety of the children.

The incident happened around the time students would have been getting out of school, and some concerned parents whose children go to the nearby Hempstead High School say it's a tradition for students to go to the McDonald's after class.

"Our kids walk home from school," parent Unique Redd said. "This is a place that they come get food after school and go home. It should be a safe place. There's too many guns on the street."

Both Hobbs and Hempstead School Board President Randy Stith held separate news conferences on Thursday.

The two say they have disagreed on whether the county should be providing more patrols.

"Hempstead is a suburban area that has been plagued with a lot of crime," Stith said. "Hempstead can't do it on their own."

"But to be honest with you, it shouldn't need police presence just when kids hang out at McDonald's, that's what kids do and so the issue is getting these guns away from these people that's committing the crime," Hobbs said.

Activists and parents said they are fearful it will happen again and want to provide a safe passage in a community where none of the students qualify for busing.

"Those kids are still walking and they pass by McDonald's and anybody could've gotten shot -- bullets have no name," Stith said.

No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.

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