2009-03-20 / Top Stories

'Shots Fired' Call Sparks Peninsula-Wide Search

By Howard Schwach

Several calls of "shots fired" near Beach 54 Street and Beach Channel Drive on Monday brought police from all over Queens to the peninsula in a search for a shooter.

Police sources say that the first call was delivered to the 911 emergency system at about 3:02 p.m. on March 16. The first responding units found several spent shells in front of 54-30 Beach Channel Drive, in the Ocean Bay Houses, police said.

Eyewitnesses told police that the male shooter had fled westbound in a tan car and provided a partial license plate to the officers.

Officials called a Level I Mobilization at 3:40 p.m., which brought police officers and specialized units such as the emergency service unit and aviation to the scene.

Officers covered both the Cross Bay Bridge and the Marine Parkway Bridge looking for the suspect's automobile. Other officers checked the two Rockaway hospitals - the Peninsula Hospital Center and St. John's Episcopal Hospital — for a wounded person who might have been involved in the shooting event.

Police believed that they had spotted the car near 85-02 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, in the Hammel Houses, and a vertical search of that public housing project was started.

By 4:30 p.m., however, the search was called off without finding either the shooter or his car.

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