Police hunt for ‘person of interest’

Man Shot To Death On Shinnecock Reservation




Michael Gaines, wanted for questioning. Independent /Suffolk Crime Stoppers

A man was shot to death early Friday morning on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation, and authorities are hunting for another man being called “a person of interest.”

Mtundo Vanterpool, 43, who lived on the reservation, succumbed from gunshot wounds August 16, according to New York state police. “Life saving efforts were unsuccessful,” said Lt. Chris Munz.

In a press release issued Saturday morning, police said they are looking for Michael Gaines, 42, stating they believe he has information regarding the investigation. “We would like to question Mr. Gaines regarding this,” Lt. Munz said. Gaines also lived on the reservation.

Police and tribal leaders said neither man was a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation. Apprehension mounted over the weekend in the neighborhood surrounding the reservation, which is west of Southampton Village and east of Hampton Bays. Police were on the scene at the reservation Saturday, August 17, and tribal leaders urged residents there to stay inside.

A man with the same name and age as the deceased was arrested 12 years ago for ordering his pit bull to attack police. Mtundo Vanterpool, then 29, lived in East Meadow at the time. Police tried to ticket him for having an unlicensed dog. He allegedly released the dog on two officers, police said. A third officer shot and killed the dog as it was about to attack him, police said.

Vanterpool was charged with two counts of second-degree assault. When the officers arrested Vanterpool, police said, he possessed 25 bags of a substance believed to be crack cocaine, and was subsequently charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, and related charges.

Almost a year ago, on September 2, a man was taken into custody after shots were fired at the annual Shinnecock Pow Wow. State Troopers said Devon Trent, 23, became involved in a physical altercation with other Pow Wow attendees. Witnesses said Trent, brandishing a black semi-automatic gun, fired once. In the midst of an altercation, another round was discharged.

Suffolk Crime Stoppers has posted a $1000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com