NYPD cop fatally shoots Bronx bodega worker

A NYPD officer walks through the door at

A NYPD officer walks through the door at the scene where a person was shot in the early morning hours as police responded to a reported robbery at the bodega at 169th and Franklin Ave. (Sept 7, 2012) (Credit: Craig Ruttle)

A Bronx bodega worker fleeing an armed robbery was killed early Friday when he collided with a police officer responding to the 911 call and was accidentally shot, NYPD officials said.

Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, was shot once in the left shoulder as he and the officer fell to the sidewalk outside Aneurys Deli in Morrisania, police said.

Moments earlier, Cuevas and his uncle, Felix Mora, manager of the store at 169th Street and Franklin Avenue, had been held at gunpoint around 1:50 a.m. as robbers grabbed about $700 in cash, lottery tickets and cigarettes.

Police said all three suspects were later arrested and charged with felony murder, robbery and weapons possession. They were identified as Orlando Ramos, 31, Ernesto Delgado, 28, and Christopher Dorsey, 17, all of the Bronx.

The identity of the officer involved in the shooting, a seven-year veteran, was not released.

"The tragedy here is that Mr. Cuevas was shot," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said. "In terms of [police] procedure, it appears to be nothing wrong."

Kelly visited the victim's mother in the Bronx to express his condolences, police spokesman Paul Browne said.

On Friday afternoon, friends of the slain clerk lit memorial candles at a plaza across from the bodega and wrote condolences on posters, one of which bore the words "R.I.P. Reynaldo."

"We want justice!" members of the crowd shouted, as police stood guard outside the store.

Surveillance video released Friday shows a lone officer standing outside the store, gun drawn, as Mora and Cuevas run out the front door.

Mora sidesteps the officer, but Cuevas, following close behind, plows into the officer, causing both to fall.

Kelly said it appears that the force of the collision caused the officer's weapon to fire. Cuevas died later at a hospital.

Mora, 43, told Newsday he was getting ready to close the store when the robbers burst in and announced the holdup in Spanish.

"I was scared. I thought I was going to die," he said.

Security video from inside the store shows the robbers ordering Cuevas and Mora to lie on the floor.

The robbers suddenly flee in the direction of the basement after one of them yells "policia!" Cuevas and Mora then sprang to their feet and ran outside.

A passerby saw the robbery in progress and called 911, police officials said.

Mora called Cuevas "a good kid, a hardworking kid, a happy kid." Family friends said he had a 3-year-old daughter.

Kelly said investigators won't be able to interview the officer whose gun discharged until it's cleared by the Bronx district attorney's office. A spokesman for District Attorney Robert Johnson said the incident is under review.

With Matthew Chayes

and the AP

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