Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) -- A 20-year-old store employee was shot and killed by a police officer as he sought safety from armed robbers in the Bronx section of New York, police said.
The victim ran out of the bodega where the robbery occurred and collided with a police officer who had his weapon drawn, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said today at a news conference. The man, identified by the police as Reynaldo Cuevas, was working at the store and was the nephew of the owner, Kelly said.
“The two became entangled, at which point we believe the officer accidentally discharged his weapon,” Kelly said.
The shooting happened two weeks after police shot and killed a man outside the Empire State Building after he fatally shot a former coworker in midtown Manhattan. As many as nine people were injured Aug. 24 when police officers shot the assailant, Jeffrey Johnson, who had tried to shoot the officers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
On Aug. 11, a man brandishing a knife was shot to death by the police in the Times Square area. He ignored two officers’ orders to drop the knife and they “responded appropriately” by firing, Kelly said afterward, according to the New York Times.
In his weekly appearance on WOR radio today, the mayor defended the police in the Empire State Building incident. He didn’t discuss the Bronx shooting.
“If you take a look at the number of times New York City police officers pull and use their gun compared to any other city per capita, you have to have a separate chart, it’s so low,” Bloomberg said.
The robbery in the Bronx began at about 2 a.m. when three men, one armed with a .32-caliber revolver, entered the grocery store at 169th Street and Franklin Avenue, Kelly said. The 20-year-old and the store manager were ordered to lie on the floor while the men filled a backpack with cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets.
A passerby called 911. When police officers arrived, two of the robbers fled to the back of the store and into the basement, Kelly said. The workers ran out of the store, the commissioner said. The victim was shot in the left shoulder and pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Hospital, Kelly said.
Two men surrendered to police. The third man in the basement was tied to a pole pretending to be a victim, according to Kelly.
The mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.