Year in Review 2023

Year in Review 2023: Remembering Preston Gamble

Fifteen-year-old Preston Gamble was shot and killed on April 12 in Calverton. The shocking and tragic incident remains unsolved, prompting his mother, Chakara Jones, to share her story with the News-Review in hopes of finding justice.

Suffolk County police were called to the Calverton Hills condo complex the day of the shooting after a dispute broke out between two groups of teens. Suffolk County Police Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer, head of the homicide squad, said on the day of the shooting that the altercation began as a fist fight. “The dispute erupted into gunfire and a teenage boy was killed,” he said.

Six months later, his mother shared her recollections of that fateful day with the News Review, “With this case, you’ve got kids as witnesses, who had probably seen [the shooter] for a split second,” Ms. Jones said. “It’s not like they were regulars … They’d been around for a couple days.”

Ms. Jones said the Suffolk County police detective assigned to her son’s case “is do- ing his job. But how long is the process?” she wondered. “That’s my only issue. I want to respect the investigation. I don’t want to see street justice. … People are hurting. I’m barely pushing through,” she said. “But I have to survive.”

The single mother of six said that when she heard the gunshot she initially froze, before a panic rose up inside her and she came rushing down the stairs, only to be met by family members and neighbors with the terrible news of that Preston had been shot.

Without going into detail, Ms. Jones assured a reporter that she knows who shot her son, and said the man lives in another part of Suffolk County.

She said Preston’s death has deeply affected her five other children.

“Everybody has mood swings,” she said, especially Preston’s stepbrother, who witnessed the shooting.

After his death, Preston’s friends and family devised a metaphor to help define his brief but colorful life. On a website dedicated to his memory, loved ones com- pare him to the light of the sun.

“Remembering Preston Charles Gamble: Sunrise June 30, 2007 – Sunset April 12, 2023.”