Bronx deli worker killed by cop recalled as a loving father and needless victim
Friends and family Tuesday mourned Reynaldo Cuevas at his wake in Washington Heights, while questioning his fatal shooting by a police officer responding to a robbery at the Bronx bodega where the 20-year-old worked.
"I'm an NYPD Explorer and I feel like I shouldn't even be an Explorer anymore," said Julian Angulo, 18, of Inwood, who's in the Police Department's program for teens. "Why should I support the NYPD when they put my friend's family through this?" Angulo is a friend of Cuevas' sister, Nicole, a Marine.
While Angulo struggled with "mixed feelings," his friend, Mychele Bustamante, 19, of Fort Washington, fondly recalled nights where Cuevas bought beer for her and her friends while his girlfriend cooked up plantanos, chuletas and rice and the group danced bachata, was not as conflicted. "He was running to the police for help. Do you think they would have shot a white man running out of the store?" she asked.
Cuevas was shot Friday by an officer, whom the NYPD has yet to identify, after he ran of the deli and collided with the cop, who had drawn his gun knowing that a robbery was in progress.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said an initial NYPD investigation revealed that the gun accidentally fired. The officer who fired is reportedly now on administrative leave.
The Bronx district attorney, which has charged the three defendants apprehended that night with second degree murder, as well as robbery, said Tuesday that its investigation is continuing.
The family's lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, was outside the funeral home telling reporters "what this family wants is a (grand) jury empaneled, made up of people in the Bronx," to determine whether the officer, too, should face charges in Cuevas' death.
Rubenstein said he will be subpoenaing the original footage of the surveillance video released by the NYPD.
The NYPD did not respond to further requests for comment.