Will a grieving mother’s desperate plea crack a cold Long Island murder case? Suffolk County cops plan to give it a try.
Marie Rosental, of Brooklyn, lost everything in the town of West Babylon when her 29-year-old son Danie Philistin was shot and killed in July 2021.
“He was everything to me, he was my only son,” cried Rosental. “Please help me.”
Police held a news conference Wednesday with the family of the former semi-pro football player from New Jersey. Detectives said they have interviewed dozens of witnesses from that night, but they need to hear from more people.
“We want people to come forward, you will remain anonymous, we will protect your identity,” said Suffolk Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison.
On the night of July 17, 2021, Philistin and his friends were leaving a party held at a house at 31 Gordon Avenue in West Babylon around 11:34 p.m. It was a ticketed barbecue and pool party that drew around 200 people after being advertised on social media.
Police released new security video from that night, showing Philistin and his friends calmly talking. At one point, police said two intoxicated men began to verbally and sexually harass their two female friends.
“As Danie was escorting the female friends to the car,” explained Commissioner Harrison, “the males started pushing and shoving each other. Then it happened one of the males pulled out a firearm, firing it striking Danie in the head.”
More than a year and a half after his murder, Philistin’s family and friends pleaded with the public to help catch his killer.
“Imagine that was your brother, your uncle, your father,” said Geffrey Souffrant, a half brother. “You would want someone to step and say something.”
According to his archived obituary, Philistin was born in Brooklyn and educated in New York City public schools. He attended P.S 152 Elementary School and Ditmas I.S. 62 Middle School, then graduated from New Utrecht High School in June 2011. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management in 2019 from Alfred State University.
Philistin played for the Brooklyn Pharoahs and coached a youth flag football team. His family and friends said he always wanted to help others, especially serving as a good example for the youth in his community
“Danie loved life he loved people,” said family friend Khadijah Shakur. “He would talk to them and get in their head, and say ‘Get your life together, this is your future.'”
Police hope that by releasing the security video and hearing from his family members, it might jog someone’s memory of the night.
“Please, please — I don’t want to die without justice for my Danie. Danie was my everything, he loved his mother, he loved everybody. He was a good person, he did not deserve to die like that,” said Rosental.
No arrests have been made in the case.
The reward for information leading to an arrest has been upped to $5,000 in a “fast cash reward,” meaning it is payable within seven days of an arrest. Anyone with information regarding the shooting is urged to call the CRIMESTOPPERS Hotline at 1-800-220-TIPS.