Robert Shilling didn’t know Gabriel Dispenziere would be in his fourth-grade class until the eve of the first day of school in September 2014. READ
Robert Shilling didn’t know Gabriel Dispenziere would be in his fourth-grade class until the eve of the first day of school in September 2014. READ
ESPN aired a five-minute segment on Tom Cutinella and the Long Island champion Shoreham-Wading River football team during its popular College Gameday show Saturday.
The piece about Tom, the SWR football player who died this fall after an on-field injury during the team’s Oct. 1 game at John Glenn, was shot earlier this week. Gene Wojciechowski — an analyst and columnist for the network — was in the district Tuesday gathering material and doing interviews for the piece, SWR athletic director Mark Passamonte at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
The Shoreham-Wading River team also attended the Army-Navy game due to the generosity of one total stranger. After reading about West Point offering Cutinella a posthumous scholarship, Dr. Michael Masciello — a 65-year-old cardiologist and 1971 graduate of Army — purchased tickets for the entire team to attend the game, which is 3 p.m. Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Masciello, who has no connection to the SWR program or the Cutinellas, reached out to the family and the team. He also bought special jerseys for the team that bear Cutinella’s No. 54.
A No. 54 sign, made in memory of Tom, was visible at times during the show Saturday among the many other signs fans typically prepare for the cameras.
Update (5:30 p.m.)
Police have identified the body that was found in a Riverhead motel room on Sunday as Kathleen Meechan, 41, of Riverhead.
Ms. Meechan was found dead in her motel room by hotel management about 12:20 p.m., according to a police statement. Officers pronounced the woman — the only one staying in the room — dead once they arrived on scene.
Though police said they have not determined the exact cause of death, it appears to be non-criminal. The body was removed by the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office to be taken for autopsy, police said.
Update (3:15 p.m.)
Police investigating a woman’s death at the Greenview Inn on West Main Street in Riverhead don’t believe foul play was involved, a detective on the scene said. The exact cause of the woman’s death is still under investigation.
The Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office had been called to the scene at 2:45 p.m. (more…)
A Manorville man was arrested Saturday in connection with the armed robbery of the Hess gas station on Edwards Avenue in Calverton and at least eight other incidents, Suffolk County police said.
Paul Tromblee, 35, may still face charges in relation to other armed robberies in the county, police said. Southold Town Police said last week that the suspect in the other area robberies may have been responsible for the armed robbery of the GameStop store in Mattituck last Tuesday, though Mr. Tromblee has not yet been charged in connection with that incident.
Det. Lt. Edward Reilly of the Suffolk County Police Department said Sunday that detectives are working with Southold police, who he said still believe Mr. Tromblee is responsible for the Mattituck robbery.
Currently, Mr. Tromblee stands charged with eight counts of first-degree robbery and one count of third-degree robbery. He is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Sunday, Suffolk police said.
Since Oct. 26, gas stations in Calverton, Mastic, North Babylon, St. James, Dix Hills, and Bohemia as well as Jamba Juice in Stony Brook, Kissed by the Sun Tanning in Islip, and CVS Pharmacy in Lake Ronkonkoma were robbed by an armed suspect who demanded cash after pretending to purchase merchandise, police said. Utilizing video surveillance as well as tips, including information received via Crime Stoppers, Pattern Crime Unit detectives identified the suspect as Mr. Tromblee. He was located by detectives while driving on Sunrise Highway in Brookhaven around 3 p.m. Saturday.
The Hess gas station — barely in the jurisdiction of the SCPD – was robbed Oct. 30, after a man pulled a handgun on a store clerk, demanding cash from the register about 7:45 p.m.
Mohammed Kahn, the clerk at the Calverton Hess, told the News-Review on the night of the incident that the robber walked straight up to the register and demanded cash, first giving him the impression that the act was a trick.
“I was looking to him like he was joking,” Mr. Kahn said at the time.
Detectives are continuing to investigate if Mr. Tromblee is responsible for similar incidents that occurred recently. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. Police said all calls will remain confidential.
New Beginnings is seeking donations of materials and services for Brendan House, a long-term independent group home for residents with traumatic brain injuries that is slated to open on Sound Avenue in Riverhead.
Building materials needed include lumber, siding, roofing, decking, paint, molding, appliances, hot water heater, septic system, plumbing and electrical supplies, and alarms. Professional services needed include contracting, roofing, painting, janitorial, cesspool, electrical, plumbing and fi re prevention as well as general assistance.
Contact Allyson or Kate at New Beginnings, (631) 286-6166, if you’d like to help.
The community residence, planned for a vacant Sound Avenue farmhouse, would house four people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and may be considered medically dependent, thus in need of around-the-clock care.
Each resident would have an aide, but the aides would work shifts and would not live in the residence themselves.
Under the plan, a barn building that is already on the property would be converted into an apartment for use by the “house master,” who would oversee the facility and serve as backup for any aides who cannot make their shift, the group said.
Michael Hubbard, a Riverhead teen who suffered brain damage in the aftermath of being badly burned by an exploding gel candle in his backyard in May of 2011 is expected to be one of the residents of Brendan House.
The home, which officials hope to have open in the fall, received ZBA approval in April. It is named in memory of Brendan Aykroyd, a 25-year-old Blue Point man who suffered a brain injury in a 2009 assault.
Three hours after shotgun blasts sent shockwaves through Polish Town and a Riverhead woman to the hospital, Riverhead and New York State police used a K9 to capture the teenager they say pulled the trigger.
Nathan Streit, 17, who police say is homeless, was found hiding inside a Osborn Avenue house about 11:30 p.m. Monday.
Hours earlier, Mr. Streit had fired several rounds at Jon Gallo, 26, and Shane Sypher, 25, both of Riverhead following a confrontation on nearby Raynor Avenue, police said. While neither man was struck by any of the shots, pellets from one round did cause minor injuries to Mr. Gallo’s mother, Sharon, 52.
Mr. Gallo told a News-Review reporter Monday night that he had confronted Mr. Streit and another young man over a series of break-ins in the area.
“Next thing I know, he comes back with a gun and he’s [expletive] shooting,” Mr. Gallo said.
The gunman then fled on foot, Mr. Gallo said.
Police quickly responded to the home on Osborn Avenue where they later found Mr. Streit, frequently shining a flashlight at an open second story window and questioning two men and a woman sitting outside the home.
Shortly before 11:30 p.m., several state troopers and Riverhead police officers and detectives wearing bullet proof vests, surrounded the house while a police dog and several more officers searched the interior for the shooter.
Mr. Streit was quickly apprehended without resistance, police said. He was charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment. He was held overnight for a Tuesday morning arraignment.
Ms. Gallo was treated at Peconic Bay Medical Center for what police described as non-life threatening injuries.
Check back for more details later this morning.
The search for a Peconic teen missing since Monday went viral this week, as local appeals to find her were shared over social networking sites across the country and beyond.
Ashley Murray, 16, was last seen at 8:30 a.m., the time she normally leaves her home on Spring Lane to catch the school bus.
She never arrived at school.
“You just keep hoping that the game is up and she’ll come walking through the door,” her mother, Charlotte, said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.
Ms. Murray learned of her daughter’s disappearance after receiving a call from school officials who told her social workers got word from students who had received texts from Ashley that said she would kill herself. Her mom later found a note from her daughter, which she called a “suicide note,” saying it made reference to a “watery grave.”
“This was all thought out and planned the night before,” Ms. Murray said.
Southold Police initially employed a marine patrol, its canine unit and a Suffolk County Police helicopter to perform a physical search Monday morning, but later focused their investigation on the possibility that she may have left the area. They then ended the active local search Monday afternoon and began to concentrate on examining phone and computer records, and interviewing close friends and family, police said.
Police did not release an official missing person report until Wednesday morning, more than 50 hours after Ashley’s disappearance. Law enforcement officials said Ashley’s case does not fit criteria for an “Amber Alert,” since she is not believed to have been abducted.
That did not stop local residents from conducting their own searches and using social media to reach thousands of concerned web surfers from across the country.
A missing poster created Tuesday night by the Facebook page “Missing,” which has a reach of about 125,000 Facebook users, was already shared by more than 14,000 people the following morning, with an additional 1,200 people “liking” the poster and another 1,000 users commenting.
“Shared in Ottawa, Ontario Canada,” one user wrote.
“I encourage everyone to pray for this young girl,” said another commenter.
Locally, friends of Ashley created a Facebook page called “Ashley Come Home,” which was already followed by more than 1,000 Facebook users just hours after its creation. Users shared their photos of Ashley and the page, where they made desperate pleas for their friend to return safely.
“If anyone knows ANYTHING that could help lead to Ashley’s safe return please tell someone as soon as possible! We need to know as much as we can so we can find this beautiful young lady!” the moderator of the page wrote.
Many of her classmates posted that they were out searching locally for their friend, who they said was often bullied in school.
Ashley is 5-foot 4-inches and 140 pounds with reddish-brown hair, her mother said. She was last seen wearing red sweatpants “four sizes too big,” black boots and a zip-up sweatshirt with a hood, Charlotte Murray said. Police added that she has a scar on her right wrist and wears hearing aids in both ears.
“She didn’t even leave with a winter coat,” her mom said, and she left behind medication she must take for anemia.
Ashley’s mom also said her daughter has never run away from home before.
“I’d like for her to come home,” Ms. Murray said, adding that she hadn’t slept since her daughter went missing Monday morning.
Ms. Murray said her daughter’s phone is turned off or not working.
Southold Superintendent David Gamberg said the district has been cooperating with the Southold Police Department since the investigation began Monday.
“We have deep, deep concerns about her whereabouts and her safety,” Mr. Gamberg said. “Anything and everything we can do we will do.”
Anyone with information should contact Southold Police at (631) 765-2600. Information will remain confidential.
WITH TIM KELLY AND JENNIFER GUSTAVSON
Nearly 20 years after the shooting incident that led to the death of a Persian Gulf veteran, one of two men convicted in his killing could be headed back to prison.
David Brown, 37, of Flanders was arrested on drug charges Saturday night following a traffic stop on East Main Street, Riverhead Town Police said. The bust comes less than six months after he was paroled on Sept. 14, following 17 years in prison for killing Alvin Charles McElroy Jr., state parole records show.
Mr. Brown had been living in Riverhead before he was convicted of manslaughter in connection with Mr. McElroy’s death in May 1995 and sentenced to a minimum of nine years in prison. He was later convicted of attempted promotion of prison contraband and was not released until last September, state records show. His release came nine years after he was first elegible for parole, but 11 years before his maximum sentence of 28 years was to expire.
Mr. Brown’s cousin, Edward Jackson of Flanders, who was 19 years old at the time of the shooting, was also convicted of manslaughter in connection with Mr. McElroy’s death and was released from prison in 2010 after serving 15 years, state parole records show.
The shooting incident occurred after a group of as many as 10 young men, including Mr. Brown and Mr. Jackson, confronted Mr. McElroy on Phillips Street near Route 25 about 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 30, 1993, according to previously published reports in the News-Review and Newsday. Several shots were fired and Mr. McElroy was struck four times in the head and legs. It was the third shooting reported in Riverhead that day, after two other incidents occurred earlier that morning.
Mr. McElroy, a 22-year-old father of three, spent the last eight months of his life in a coma before dying at Hilltop Manor Rehabilitation Center in Niskanyuna, N.Y. on Feb. 1, 1994, according to a story published in the News-Review at the time of his death. He was the son of Rev. A. Charles McElroy Sr. of Friendship Baptist Church in Riverhead, who presided over his funeral.
The death of a preacher’s son sent shockwaves through Riverhead Town, Newsday reported at the time.
Rev. McElroy said during the funeral that his son had brushes with the law and had disputes with the alleged gunmen in the weeks leading up to the shooting, according to a Newsday report.
“He was offered everything, a good home, a good environment and education,” Rev. McElroy said of his son. “Raising a child today is a high risk. He encountered the demonic forces of his time.”
Mr. Brown was a suspect in the shooting soon after police began their investigation, but he was not located until he attempted to run from the scene of a traffic stop in September 1993. After a foot pursuit, Mr. Brown, who was wanted on a warrant issued by Suffolk County Police, was detained by Riverhead police officer James Wooten, according to a story published in the News-Review at the time of his arrest.
Mr. Wooten, now a town councilman, said that after he saw Mr. Brown, who was 18 at the time of his arrest, run up Fifth Street, he knew exactly where he was headed.
“I took off running to St. John’s [Church] and he ran right into my arms,” Mr. Wooten recalled in an interview Sunday.
“The guy did 17 years as a young man and he had a chance to turn his life around. It’s crazy,” he said. “I’m glad he’s off the street though. He spent most of his adult life in jail and he didn’t learn a thing from the sound of it.”
Mr. Brown was charged with three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal possession of marijuana, police said following his 2 a.m. arrest Sunday. Also charged in the incident was 25-year-old Michael Bambrick of Riverhead.
The two men were in possession of more than four ounces of cocaine, more than eight ounces of marijuana, 10 packets of PCP and a digital scale, according to a report on riverheadlocal.com, which covered the arraignment Sunday morning.