‘People are on edge’: Nassau executive talks West Hempstead Stop & Shop shooting, mental health

Long Island

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. — One person was killed and two others were injured when a man opened fire at a Stop & Shop in West Hempstead, Long Island Tuesday.

The suspect, Gabriel DeWitt Wilson, was taken into custody several hours later.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told PIX11 News the investigation remains ongoing, but understands that residents are still concerned.

“People are on edge,” she said.

However, Curran said she took comfort in knowing the police in her community are well trained and kept residents safe.

When asked about a possible motive, Curran said she did not want to hypothesize on anything, but added everything “will come out” soon.

Wilson has a small criminal background and was treated once for a mental health illness in Nassau County, according to police.

Curran said Nassau County has been equipped with mental health resources for anyone who wants or needs it.

She also said the county is making sure the department of Social Services works with 911 operators if there’s a mental health situation involved with a call. 

The county has several resources not just for mental health, but also for substance, drug abuse and others. 

Anyone who needs assistance can contact the Nassau County Crisis Hotline and Services at 516-227-TALK (8255) or visit the Crisis Hotline and Services website. 

“We have the resources there. We want to do everything we can to connect people with those resources,” she said. 

Gun legislation

Gun reform conversations have been going on for a while. 

Curran said the county has gun laws, but they’re not consistent state by state.

“We have to work with federal partners. We have to work with our law enforcement partners around the country to track these guns and to make sure that those laws are properly being followed,” she said.

Derek Chauvin trial and police reform

Following the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Curran tweeted George Floyd’s murder spurred outrage and action, including historic changes in Nassau County’s police department. 

Curran said they are always working to continue to build trust between communities and police.

Training is incredibly important. Training will be reinforced as well as positive interactions with communities. 

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