A 27-year-old Riverhead man was shot and killed while sitting in a vehicle outside a Riverside home Tuesday night, Suffolk County police said.
Thomas Lacolla of Northville Turnpike was killed at 9:37 p.m. at 185 Old Quogue Road, said police Detective Lt. Kevin Beyrer with the Suffolk County homicide squad.
Mr. Lacolla, an ex-convict with a history of drug and weapons-related arrests, was pronounced dead at the scene.
No arrests have been made and police are still seeking the suspect.
County homicide detectives were on scene Wednesday morning and are investigating the killing, police said.
Lt. Beyrer said “multiple shots” were fired from outside the car into the car. While multiple people called 911 after the shooting, no witnesses have come forward yet, he said.
Mr. Lacolla served time in prison following drug and weapons-related convictions in 2009 and 2011, and for a parole violation after leading police on a high-speed chase earlier this year. State records show he was most recently released from prison last month.
Riverside resident Rochelle Allen lives near where the shooting happened on Old Quogue Road, and said she heard five or six shots fired around 9:40 p.m. Tuesday night.
“I thought it was a firecracker,” she said. “It scared me and my daughter.”
At Certified Automotive and Towing, a nearby business, two workers said they also heard the shots Tuesday night, though they reported hearing between 20 and 30 gunshots. Employee Greg Badilla said the two looked down the road but “didn’t see any commotion” and went back to work.
A resident who lives on nearby Pebble Way said she called police after she heard multiple gunshots Tuesday night. They came one right after another, she recalled.
“It was ‘boom, boom, boom, boom!’ I heard a ton of them,” she said. “But it wasn’t just one. It was consecutive. So it must’ve been some kind of automatic weapon.”
Ironically, the resident was looking through footage of a security camera she and her husband recently purchased in the wake of several dozen car break-ins in nearby Flanders when the shooting occurred.
While police have said they increased patrols in the area recently, the resident said she hasn’t seen any increased presence.
“I never see [police],” she said. “It’s very rare that I see them, particularly at night.”
New York state troopers and Southampton Town police are helping to investigate the shooting, Lt. Beyrer said. Police have asked anyone with information about the shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
Check back for more information as it becomes available.
Photo caption: Detectives stand near an unmarked police car near the scene of Tuesday night’s fatal shooting in Riverside. Credit: Chris Lisinski