MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that two Hempstead men were arraigned today on grand jury indictment charges for the fatal Christmas Day shooting of a Valley Stream man who was walking to pick up his daughter at the train station.
Shameq Sullins, 17 and Antoine Foster, 17, both of Hempstead were arraigned today before Acting Supreme Court Justice William O’Brien on two counts of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony). Foster was also arraigned on two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (a C felony). The defendants are remanded and are due back in court on August 29. If convicted of the top count they each face 25 years to life in prison.
“Rafael Cepeda was heading to pick up his daughter on Christmas Day when a bullet allegedly fired by one of these defendants took his life,” DA Singas said. “Mr. Cepeda was an innocent victim killed by senseless gang violence in Hempstead and my office will vigorously prosecute this case. I thank the Nassau County Police Department, the U.S. Marshals and the authorities in Virginia for helping arrest these defendants.”
DA Singas said on December 25, 2017, at approximately 6:20 pm, the defendants were allegedly standing in front of 100 Terrace Avenue in Hempstead when Foster, with Sullins acting as a lookout, fired multiple shots at a vehicle in the direction of Rafael Cepeda, 36, fatally striking him once in the chest. At the time of the shooting, Mr. Cepeda, who was not the intended target, was leaving his apartment and walking to the nearby train station to pick up his young daughter. Both defendants are allegedly associated with the Bloods street gang.
Following an investigation, Defendant Sullins was arrested on January 2 by members of the Nassau County Police. Defendant Foster was arrested by Nassau County Homicide Detectives with assistance of local police and U.S. Marshals on June 20 in Alexandria, VA where he was allegedly staying with a family friend. The gun used in the shooting was never recovered.
Assistant District Attorney Ania Pulaski of DA Singas’ Major Offense Bureau is prosecuting this case. Sullins is represented by Joseph LoPiccolo, Esq. and Foster is represented by Christopher Devane, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.