Sept 9, 2012
A New York City police officer fatally shot a convenience store worker who plowed into him while trying to escape armed robbers that were raiding his store.
The uniformed officer was standing outside a Bronx convenience store, responding to a 911 call. With his gun drawn he instantly shot 20-year old Renaldo Cuevas, after the panicked young man bumped into him on his way out from the store – causing both him and the officer to fall onto the sidewalk.
A surveillance video shows a pool of blood forming as the victim falls to the ground – all while the officer continues to point his gun at the lifeless Cuevas.
“He didn’t have his hands up and they shot him,” the victim’s cousin told the NY Daily News. “They didn’t say nothing. They just shot him. He was just trying to run away because he was scared.”
Store manager Felix Mora, the victim’s uncle, said he was closing up the store with Cuevas when three armed men barged in and pointed a gun at them, the Associated Press reported.
“Don’t move. I will kill your son if you move,” one of the gunmen allegedly said, mistaking Cuevas for the manager’s son. One of the gunmen, who wore a mask, proceeded to hit Mora with a pistol and knocked both men down. The robbers then filled one of their backpacks with $718 in cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets.
“I was so scared. I was just praying for the cops to come,” Mora said. While Mora and Cuevas were being held hostage, a passer-by witnessed the incident through a store window and called the police. After authorities arrived at the scene, the robbers moved to the back of the store and the victims escaped.
It was while Cuevas was fleeing the scene that he was killed by the police officer. The New York Police Department is refusing to release the name of the cop while they are conducting an enquiry into the incident. Until this investigation is concluded, the officer has been assigned to desk duty.
Meanwhile, the three suspected armed robbers were cornered by police after the shooting and surrendered when the cops threatened to send a dog into the store. The .32-caliber handgun they were carrying had never been loaded. One of the men came out of hiding from the back of the store around 5 am on the night of the shooting and pretended to be a victim, while another was found tied up in the back of the store as part of the same scheme.
The men were charged with murder, robbery and weapons possession.
Family and friends at a memorial service across from the convenience store remembered the victim, who was referred to by his uncle as “a good, a hardworking kid, a happy kid.”
“RIP Reynaldo,” read a hand-drawn poster.