The chaotic situation unfolded after three masked gunmen entered Natalie Grocery on Franklin Ave. in Morrisania about 2 a.m. as the store was closing, according to Jose Garcia, 27, who identified himself as the victim’s cousin.
The store owner and his 20-year-old nephew managed to escape and ran out of the store. But the nephew was shot once by a cop who had just arrived at the scene, Garcia said.
“The owner opened the door and came out with his hands up. He said, ‘They’re robbing me. They’re robbing me,’” said Garcia. “The co-worker, he didn’t say nothing and didn’t put his hands up. He just came out running. They thought he was one of the robbers, but he just worked there and they shot him.”
The unarmed victim was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital where he died.
The New York Police Department would not comment on the witness accounts. Police said only that a 20-year-old male Hispanic had been killed, without describing the circumstances.
The shooting is under investigation.
A tense standoff between police and two of the three robbers — who were holed up in the bodega — ensued for over three hours after the shooting. The duo inside the store finally surrendered about 5 a.m. The third robber tried to flee but was caught by police.