Christopher Collins (Photo: Riverhead Police Dept. handout)

A shopper in the Riverhead Target parking lot yesterday was shot in the face with a pellet fired by a 19-year-old Flanders man armed with a rifle, Riverhead Police said.

Police responding to the scene discovered Christopher Collins, in possession of a Crossman pellet rifle in a wooded area near the parking lot, according to a police press release. The incident occurred just before 5:30 p.m.

The injured shopper, a 19-year-old female, was taken by Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps to Peconic Bay Medical Center, where emergency room staff found a pellet embedded under her skin, police said.

Collins was charged by police with second-degree assault and held for arraignment, police said. Police said Collins intentionally fired the gun at the woman. The shooting appears to have been random, Riverhead Police Sgt. Sean Egan said.

A second male observed by police in the wooded area with Collins was not charged in the shooting.

Editor’s note: A criminal charge is an accusation. By law, a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.