Police: Lake Ronkonkoma IHOP shooting result of gang dispute

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LAKE RONKONKOMA -

Suffolk County police say one person was shot at a Lake Ronkonkoma IHOP Monday afternoon as part of gang-related dispute.

Multiple calls came from the Portion Road restaurant around 1:25 p.m.

Police say there was an internal dispute between two groups of suspected Bloods gang members inside the restaurant. Suffolk Chief of Department Stuart Cameron says as one group left, those individuals approached a group still sitting -- and one of those people sitting then stood up, drew a weapon and fired multiple shots.

 
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Caleb Boehle, of Centereach, says he was sitting a few feet from the shooter when he heard four to six gunshots.

One man was shot at least once. He was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital in a private vehicle and went into surgery.

Cameron says there were at least 20 people inside the IHOP, including a family with a child sitting in a high chair that was directly across from the table where the gunfire erupted. Visibly shaken patrons were escorted out of the building.

No other restaurant patrons were shot, but Cameron says a woman was struck by a bullet fragment that got caught in her sweater and did not penetrate her body.

Cameron says the suspected male shooter was apprehended around the corner from the IHOP.

Ralph Barbieri, who was in his office across the street, says he saw the suspected shooter get into an SUV and told police where to find him. Witnesses say two women in the SUV were also taken into custody.

Over 50 Suffolk police units responded to the scene.

Employees of neighboring businesses say police told them to stay inside their buildings.

Several Sachem schools in the area were placed on lockout as a precaution.

Around 3:15 p.m. Monday, police say two people were shot in front of a home on Fife Drive in Gordon Heights. They say at that same time, a third person was shot inside a vehicle on Judith Drive, also in Gordon Heights. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening. Police say those shootings involved Bloods gang members or associates. They are looking into whether the Gordon Heights shootings were related to the IHOP incident.

The IHOP remained closed and surrounded by caution tape Monday night.

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