A Bronx store clerk was fatally shot by a man who had grabbed an officer’s gun as police were trying to defuse a confrontation that began over the sale of phone chargers.
Around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday near the corner of Valentine Avenue and East 198th Street in the Bedford Park neighborhood of the Bronx, Effrain Guzman, 30, was kicked out of a bodega after a 49-year-old employee caught him trying to sell phone chargers, police said to NY1. Guzman then went into another shop across the street but was followed by the store worker who had just kicked him out, who wanted to warn others about Guzman.
Inside the second store, Guzman allegedly got into a dispute with clerks and customers, and two officers on patrol were flagged down to help with the situation, CBS2 reported. A struggle began as the two officers were leading Guzman from the store.
"As the officers were escorting Mr. Guzman out of the store, Mr. Guzman was able to grab a gun from one of the officer's holsters. The officer struggled with Mr. Guzman to regain control of his gun when the second officer fired three shots at Mr. Guzman, striking him twice," NYPD Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen said to CBS2.
During the struggle, Guzman was able to fire numerous shots from the officer's gun, NY1 stated. One of those shots fatally struck the bodega employee who had followed Guzman across the street to warn others.
"One of the officers looked like he was trying to protect the civilian who was ultimately killed," Nikunen said to CBS2. "He was shielding and trying to push him away as Mr. Guzman was firing shots in the store."
The bodega worker was pronounced dead at an area hospital, and Guzman was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in stable condition, according to NY1, which added that both of the officers involved in the incident were also taken to St. Barnabas for evaluation.