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© Michael Schwartz/New York Daily News
An innocent and unarmed Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, was shot by the NYPD while fleeing in a robbery unfolding at the Nathalie Deli & Grocery in the Bronx.
The NYPD was responding to the armed robbery when a cop and the fleeing shop worker fatally collided, police said. The loot: $700 in cash, scratch-off lottery tickets and Newport cigarettes. 'He didn't have his hands up and they shot him,' the victim's cousin said. 'They didn't say nothing. They just shot him. He was just trying to run away because he was scared.'

An unarmed bodega worker fleeing a botched armed robbery at his uncle's Bronx store was "accidentally" shot and killed by a cop answering a 911 call early Friday, police said.

Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, was mortally wounded when the officer's gun went off after the bodega worker plowed into the cop as he rushed out of the robbery scene at full speed, said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Cuevas, 20, was shot once shortly after three masked gunmen burst into the Nathalie Deli & Grocery in Morrisania as the bodega was shutting down at 1:50 a.m., according to witnesses and the victim's relatives.

A security video captured Cuevas crashing full-tilt into the officer, who was outside the deli with his weapon in his hand.

"Mr. Cuevas ... ran full-speed into the officer," Kelly said. "The two became entangled, at which point, we believe, the officer accidentally discharged his weapon."

Earlier, police said the gun went off as the two men tumbled to the ground. Cuevas was struck in the shoulder by a single bullet.

The incident "transpired in a matter of seconds, and the collision between Mr. Cuevas (and the officer) in split-seconds," said Kelly.

The officer was a 7-year NYPD veteran who had never fired his gun while on-duty, the commissioner said.

Cuevas, who planned to enlist in the U.S. Army, will instead return to the Dominican Republic for burial alongside his father, himself a gunshot victim.

The elder Cuevas was killed during a chain-snatching two years ago in the Dominican Republic, said family friend Maricela Rodriguez.

Cuevas, described as a hard worker with a bright future, leaves behind a 3-year-old daughter, she added.

Witness Jose Garcia, 27, agreed with police that the whole thing happened quickly.
Cops responding to a 911 call apparently spooked the three bandits, giving night manager Felix Mora and Cuevas a chance to flee. Mora "opened the door and came out with his hands up," said Garcia, the victim's cousin. "He said, 'They're robbing me! They're robbing me!'"

But Cuevas rushed from the store without saying a word or raising his hands.

"He just came out running," said Garcia. "They thought he was one of the robbers, but he just worked there, and they shot him."

A second witness said none of the officers identified themselves or ordered Cuevas to stop before the deadly shot rang out - although it appears there was no time for the cops to react.

"The cops shot him, right as he came out of the store," said C.C. Berrian, who walked out of the bodega just before the robbers came in. "Right after I left, I heard the shot and I saw the boy drop.

"They didn't say nothing before they shot," added the rattled 18-year-old. "I'm freaked out. My whole body is shivering."

Witnesses reported the cops dragging the wounded man's body to a stretcher. He was pronounced dead a short time later at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
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© Bryan Smith/New York Daily News
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, joined by NYPD Chief of Department Joseph Esposito, discusses the Bronx bodega robbery that left one worker fleeing the store dead after colliding with a responding police officer when the officer's gun allegedly accidently went off. 1 Police Plaza.
Manager Mora escaped unscathed, and the three suspects were all arrested - one who quickly surrendered and the other two after a tense 3 1/2-hour standoff when they hid in the store.

The latter pair tried to persuade cops that they were hostages, with one even tying his partner to a chair with a coil of yellow rope before they were cuffed, police said.

The suspects were identified as Christopher Dorsey, 17, Ernest Delgado, 28, and Orlando Ramos, 32 - all with prior arrests. Ramos and Delgado were the purported hostages. Cops recovered an unloaded .32-caliber revolver hidden near bags of birdseed in the bodega basement, police said.

They also recovered a backpack filled with the would-be proceeds of the botched robbery: $718 in cash, scratch-off lottery tickets and Newport cigarettes.

Former bodega employee Argelis Duval, 30, was stunned by the death of his friend Cuevas.

"He got killed for no reason," said Duval. "They killed him, and they dragged his body away."

Duval, who worked at the Franklin Ave. store for seven years, said it was rough neighborhood where he survived several robbery tries.

Garcia said he was hanging out with a friend across from the bodega when the robbery occurred. The workers had just closed the main entrance to the store, but a small walkup window was still open.
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© Michael Schwartz/New York Daily News
Aneury Deli and Grocery at 1299 Franklin Avenue where Reynaldo Cuevas,20, was allegedly shot by NYPD fleeing a robbery.
His friend went to the window to buy cigarettes and knew something was wrong when a stranger came to help.

"The guy went to get cigarettes and when he went to the window he said, 'Where's the owner?' and the guy there said, 'He's not here,'" Garcia said. "He looks inside the store and sees the owner on the floor and a guy with a mask holding a gun to the back of his head.

"When he saw the owner on the floor, he knew they were robbing him, so he left and he called the police."

Cops arrived almost immediately after the 911 call, with one of the suspects spotting the two officers, said police.

"Policia! Policia!" shouted one as the would-be robbers made a break for the store's back entrance.

Cuevas and his uncle, left alone by the bandits, made their escape through the front door. Seconds later, Cuevas was lying mortally wounded on the blood-covered sidewalk.

Garcia agreed that the cops fired without shouting "Freeze!" or any other warning.

"He didn't have his hands up and they shot him," he said. "They didn't say nothing. They just shot him. He was just trying to run away because he was scared."

Garcia said police asked if his cousin was holding anything in his hands when he ran out of the store. His answer: No.

"After they shot him, they dragged him away from the store," Garcia said. "There was blood everywhere, running down on the sidewalk."

In a related incident, a police officer responding to the robbery was injured in a crash with another vehicle at Third Ave. and 164th St. about 1:55 a.m., cops said.

The officer was taken to Lincoln Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The police car was heavily damaged.