A bodega worker who was fleeing an armed robbery, ran right into a police officer with his gun drawn. The gun discharged killing the employee.
Felix Mora, 43, is the manager of Aneury's Deli in the Bronx. He and an employee, Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, had just locked up after closing at 2 a.m. Friday when Cuevas remembered he forgot something in the store. Right after the door was unlocked again, the two men were followed into the bodega by three robbers, at least one of whom was armed.
Mora was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "He pointed a gun at us and was saying, 'get on the ground.' We got on the ground." While one of the robbers was going through Moral's pockets, the other two were putting the store's cash and lottery tickets into a backpack.
Someone had observed what was going on and called police.
Surveillance footage, both in and outside the bodega, shows the one robber with the two men on the floor in prone positions. A police officer can be seen outside the bodega's front door with his weapon drawn.
At some point, the robbers realize the police are there and run towards the back of the store. After the robbers head to the back, Mora runs out the front of the store, followed by Cuevas. But Cuevas is running so fast, he plows into the armed officer, knocking him off balance. The officer's gun discharged and Cuevas was killed.
Yesterday afternoon, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly held a press conference. The NYPD believe the shooting was accidental and the firearm discharged after Cuevas ran into the officer. Associated Press quotes Kelly as saying, "The tragedy here of course was that Mr. Cuevas was shot but I see nothing wrong with the procedure." Kelly also expressed condolences to Cuevas' family.
The police officer, a seven year veteran whose whose name has not been released, will remain on desk duty until the investigation is completed.
There were witnesses to the shooting. Jose Garcia told NBC News New York, "I saw the police shoot him. He came up, but he didn't put his hands up. And he tripped or something and when he fell on the floor, they shot him."
The New York Daily News reports this is the second tragedy for Cuevas' mother, Ana. Two years ago, her husband Magdaleno was shot to death during a robbery in their native Dominican Republic.
Cuevas, whose three-year-old daughter lives in the Dominican Republic, had planned to enlist in the military.
Immediately after the shooting, Christopher Dorsey, 17, came out of the store and gave himself up to police. Orlando Ramos, 32, and Ernesto Delgado, 28, barricaded themselves in the bodega for three hours before they were arrested.
All three face charges of felony murder, robbery, and weapons offences.