The owner of a famed city bakery was found dead Tuesday morning, after apparently killing herself, police said.
Renee Mancino who owned Carrot Top Pastries in Inwood and Washington Heights, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police said. She was found by her husband inside the basement office of the Manhattan location on Broadway, near 165th Street, at about 9:45 a.m., police and witnesses said.
It was not immediately clear if Mancino, 66, left a note.
A small group of people gathered around the bakery Tuesday afternoon, including Mancino's daughter, mourning the loss of a neighborhood staple.
“Right now we're all in shock. We still haven't coped with it yet,” said Natasha Rivera, 28, who worked at the bakery. “But I know, eventually, it's going to hit us.”
The longtime bakery was known for its award-winning carrot cake recipe. And Mancino was lovingly called the “Carrot Cake Queen of NYC,” according to her website.
Rivera, who has worked at the bakery for more than 10 years, said she will remember Mancino as someone with “a heart of gold” who would wrap up unsold pastries at the end of the night and send them to homeless centers throughout the city.
“She always had everybody laughing and smiling,” she said. “There was no sadness around that lady.”
Rivera said Mancino was repeatedly stressed about leasing the building next door, which she owned. A large “Store for Rent” sign with “Carrot Top” written on it was posted in the vacant storefront.
By Tuesday afternoon, loved ones blocked the storefront windows and lowered the iron front gate. Only the signature neon sign above the red awning remained lit.
In the morning, former City Council Member Robert Jackson confirmed Mancino’s death on Twitter.
“Please say a prayer for Renee, the owner of Carrot Top Bakeries & Restaurants,” he wrote. “Renee passed away to heaven this morning at work.”