Washington Heights community in shock after innocent bystander shot outside deli
The deadly shooting of an innocent bystander outside a deli on Tuesday night has sent shock waves through a Washington Heights community that has already seen its fair share of senseless gun violence.
In his last moments alive, Reda Girgis was taking a routine phone call right outside the bodega one of his sons own, when he took a bullet to the head.
“Breaks my heart. The son is my friend, that’s why I feel bad,” family friend Kim Rem said.
The burst of gunfire toward a crowded sidewalk sent people running for their lives.
It happened Tuesday just after 7 p.m. Police believe the barrage of bullets was not meant for the 66-year-old man whose life was taken. The death has shook deli workers to their core.
“We lost the man is innocent he have nothing to do with life over here he just came to visit his son and he lost his life,” deli worker Gamal Abouelezz said.
Eyewitness News reporter Anthony Carlo was told Girgis was just a bystander outside the the family-run business, Chop Cheese Deli, at Broadway and West 162nd Street. He was here from Egypt visiting family for the birth of a grandchild.
Kim Rem, also a member of the Egyptian community, is a steady customer.
“Very nice people. Very nice people. Decent, do everything good for the customer,” Rem said.
An NYPD van sat on patrol outside the deli in Washington Heights on Wednesday, as bodega supporters call for a safer city for both residents and visitors.
“You come to visit your family, and they are supposed to come to the best city in the world, New York,” said Francisco Marte, founder of Bodega and Small Business Association. “So, we have now lack of public safety. We need the public safety back.”
But not even bullet holes will keep some customers from shopping, visiting and living.
Still, there is a call for an increase in NYPD foot traffic in and outside of delis this summer to check on bodega workers.
Police say the shooting appears to be gang related and the corner is a known gang location. Detectives believe they know the motive, the identity of the intended target and have a good idea who was in the dark grey Audi SUV with New Jersey plates that fled south on Broadway.
The NYPD has surveillance video with a clear view of the fleeing vehicle and the young men who may have been the intended targets. They were seen standing right in front of the store and managed to dodge the bullets.
A witness who did not want to speak on camera told Eyewitness News reporter Sonia Rincon that he saw two guns firing from that vehicle.
Police will keep a close eye on that corner as they search for the suspect.