Cops: Earlier dispute may have led to Yonkers shooting – The Journal News | LoHud.com
Yonkers Police Department holds a news conference about the shooting of a young man in a Burger King parking lot, Sept. 18, 2015. (Video by Tania Savayan/The Journal News)
YONKERS A Yonkers baseball prospect who was drafted by the Oakland A’sÂ was shot in the headÂ and critically wounded in the parking lot of a fast-foodÂ restaurant early Friday.
Mike Nolan, 23, a graduate ofÂ Saunders Trades and Technical High School, was shot twice while in the parking lot of theÂ Burger King at 826 Central Ave.Â just after 12:30 a.m.Â Nolan was taken by ambulance to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.
Police Â on Friday combedÂ the parking lot of the restaurant, which is near anÂ exit ramp of the state Thruway, across from the Cross County Shopping Center.Â Investigators took photos of a black, four-door Mercedes with its driver’s door open and Burger King bags strewn on the ground.
Chief of Detectives Timothy Hodges said five or six shots were fired at the Mercedes, hitting Nolan in the head and torso. Hodges said Friday morning Nolan was in “extremely critical condition” at the hospital.
“At this point, we believe he was an innocent victim,” Hodges said. “He’s been a friend of the city of Yonkers and a person of high regard.”
Hodges called the gun violence a “senseless tragedy.”
Police believe a white or pale yellowÂ 2000-07 two-door Honda may be involved in the incident. Surveillance video and license-plate readers in the area are being viewed,Â Hodges said.
Several witnesses were interviewed by police Friday but investigators said they were still seeking to speak to more people.
Police think the shooting might have been relatedÂ to an argument Wednesday evening about a drag race, Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said. Young people often drag race down the service road that runs parallel to the Thruway, he said; police have stepped up enforcement and reduced the practice, but it continues to be an issue.
Gardner said NolanÂ was with a group of several people and the shooter was targeting someone in the group, but police were not sure if that was Nolan or someone else.
Police examine a car at the scene of the shooting of Mike Nolan in the Burger King parking lot on Central Park Avenue in Yonkers, Sept. 18, 2015. (Video by GM Productions)
At the family’s home, Michael Maher, Nolanâs grandfather, told The Journal News: “We’re just waiting. They told us there is nothing we can do but wait.”
He said his grandson was breathing on his own.
The familyâs brick-front ranch house has an Oakland A’s sticker on the front door. It is decorated with numerous American flags, and a handwritten sign in the window notes International Police Day Sept. 12. In front is a basketball hoop.
Saunders basketball coachÂ Anthony Nicodemo,Â said heÂ had Mike Nolan and his twoÂ brothers, JoeÂ and Nick, on his team.
“We’re heartbroken,” he said in a brief phone conversation from Jacobi, where he and others gathered to support the family. “We just can’t believe this happened.”
He recently saw Nolan’s family at a game in which Nick played.
“This is a family that has done so much for the community,” he said. “I’m hoping the community rallies around them.”
Chuck Alben, Nolan’sÂ former coach at Saunders, said he was too stunned to talk FridayÂ morning.
“I care for Mike very much,” he said. “A tremendously talented player. Wonderful family, they were at every game.”
Later, after joining Nolan’s family at the hospital, he told a reporter: “He’s better now than he was when he got there. What that means, I don’t know, but I’m taking the road of positive thinking.”
He said many people were there supporting the family.
Lefty pitcher Nolan, who standsÂ 6-foot-7,Â played forÂ Oklahoma City University andÂ was selected in the 18th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft (552nd overall) by the Oakland Athletics to fulfill a lifelong dream. He had previously undergone Tommy John surgery, a common procedure for baseball pitchers that reconstructs the ligament in the elbow by attaching it to a tendon from another part of the body.Â Most recently, he was pitching for the minor leagueÂ Arizona Athletics, but has been on the restricted list since June 2014.
Friends on Twitter are using the hashtags #pray4MikeNolan and #pray4Mike to send well wishes and concerns.
Nolan is the second oldest of four boys in his family; the youngest is a junior in high school at Saunders. His father worked as part of the response at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Journal News reporter Vincent Mercogliano contributed to this story.
Check back with lohud.com for updates.
Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner talks about Mike Nolan’s shooting early Friday. (Jane Lerner/The Journal News)
Yonkers police investigate shooting of baseball star Mike Nolan in the parking lot of Burger King on Central Park Avenue in Yonkers, Sept. 19, 2015 (Video by Jane Lerner/The Journal News)