The NYPD is searching for a stickup man after an Upper East Side deli worker was shot and killed in a robbery gone bad late Friday night, police said.
Police say they received several frantic 911 calls reporting that a deli worker had been shot on East 81 Street and 3rd Avenue at approximately 11:28 p.m. on March 3. Responding officers from the 19th Precinct found the 67-year-old Daona deli cashier with a gunshot wound to the head. The victim, whose identity is being withheld pending family notification, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Local patrons gathered outside the storefront during the early hours of Saturday morning, braving the pouring rainfall to mourn the loss of a friend.
“I don’t know why they would shoot him in the head—shoot the gun up in the air or something. You don’t take a life for money,” Jamie, a frequent customer of the corner store told amNewYork metro as he watched detectives comb over the scene of the crime. “He was nice to everyone.”
Another man rushed out into the rain bare-chested from his nearby apartment, only grabbing a coat to cover him after a friend spread the news of the cold-blooded shooting.
“I didn’t even put on clothes,” Arthur said, revealing that the cashier had only just returned to work. “He just had back surgery two months ago and was not working these long night shifts. He just came back.”
Police believe the incident was an attempted robbery, however, they did not say if the perpetrator made off with any cash. Law enforcement sources say the suspect is described as a Hispanic male who was wearing a white hazmat suit and donning a black mask. He fled on an electric scooter.
Police also reported that a robber matching that same description struck in the Bronx about 30 minutes later. NYPD sources confirmed that at 12:03 a.m., a man in a hazmat suit entered a deli at 851 Melrose Place and removed cash from the register at gunpoint. No injuries were reported in this robbery.
No arrests have been made and the investigation remains ongoing, police said.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.