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Alleged gang member sentenced to 14 years for Riverhead shooting

A Medford man who previously pleaded guilty to a 2016 shooting in downtown Riverhead was sentenced to 14 years in prison Wednesday, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. 

Jovan Bailey, 31, of Medford, had been charged in the shooting, which occurred near the Suffolk Theater, as well as another shooting incident outside an Oakdale bar in January 2017.

The DA’s office said Mr. Bailey is a Bloods gang member and he fled the state following the second shooting. He was arrested by the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force of the U.S. Marshals Service in Massachusetts this past March. One month later, he pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree criminal use of a firearm, first-degree assault, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, all felonies.

“This is a dangerous individual and an alleged gang member who repeatedly committed senseless acts of gun violence and then attempted to evade law enforcement by fleeing Suffolk County,” District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a press release. “Thanks to excellent collaboration between our office and our partners in the Suffolk County Police Department, Riverhead Police Department, and U.S. Marshals Service, he is now serving a significant prison sentence and being held accountable for these crimes.”

Mr. Bailey was accused of shooting 35-year-old Charles Gamble of East Quogue twice in the chest shortly before 3:30 a.m. near the intersection of East Main Street and Roanoke Avenue Nov. 26, 2016, police said.

Gamble’s twin brother, John, was arrested later that night for firing shots outside Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where his brother was being treated for his injuries. Investigators at the time said he was “blowing off steam.” John Gamble pleaded guilty to felony charges of criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment in December 2016. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

The second shooting incident involving Mr Bailey also occurred after 3 a.m. It was Jan. 14, 2017, outside Shakers Pub on Sunrise Highway in Oakdale when he allegedly shot a different man once in the leg. He fled the scene in a vehicle driven by Jessica Hardy, 29, of Bellport, who was arrested later that morning for illegally possessing an unloaded Glock 9mm semiautomatic pistol found in the car.

Ms. Hardy pleaded guilty May 23 to attempted criminal possession of a firearm, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to three months probation.

A forensic analysis of the weapon found in Ms. Hardy’s vehicle showed that it matched evidence recovered at the two shooting scenes and DNA analysis tied both Ms. Hardy and Mr. Bailey to the firearm, the D.A.’s office said.

Mr. Bailey was previously arrested in 2015 for fleeing a DWI checkpoint in Jamesport, according to a previous news release.