Metro

Innocent bystander killed in NYC bodega when robber opens fire: cops

An innocent bystander was shot dead inside a Bronx bodega by a gunman who was trying to rob someone else, cops and sources said Tuesday.

Stefon Barnes, 29, was inside the Gourmet Deli on East Tremont Avenue near Marmion Avenue around 4:20 a.m. Easter Sunday when the thief flashed his gun and tried to mug another shopper, authorities said. 

During the struggle, the armed man let off a round that struck Barnes in the right thigh, police said.

Stefon Barnes, 29, was fatally shot around 4:20 a.m. Easter Sunday by an armed robber targeting another man, cops and sources said.
Stefon Barnes, 29, was fatally shot around 4:20 a.m. Easter Sunday by an armed robber targeting another man, cops and sources said. NYPD

Barnes was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, authorities said.

Before the shooting, Barnes had simply been eyeing a rack of chips for sale inside the store when the botched robbery erupted steps from where he was standing, according to video obtained by WABC.

Moments earlier, revelers were dancing and singing inside the deli, including a woman wearing bunny ears, the video shows.

Antonio Sanchez, 64, told The Post he was inside the store buying soda and a juice just minutes before the gunfire erupted.

The Gourmet Deli at 851 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, where 29-year-old Stefon Barnes was fatally shot Sunday.
Barnes was eyeing bags of chips and was uninvolved in the fracas before he was shot, video shows. Google Maps

“[Barnes] was in the store but the fight wasn’t with him,” Sanchez said. “He was just in the wrong place and the wrong time.”

Sanchez said Barnes was calm and collected when he greeted him with a “Wassup, how you doing?” 

“I only left the store 5 minutes before the shooting and I was just across the street,” Sanchez added. “I heard the gun go off but I thought it was firecrackers, which are common around here.

“It’s a tragedy what happened,” he said. 

By Tuesday, a makeshift memorial had been set up outside the deli – with bouquets of flowers in vases made from Espolón Blanco tequila bottles, unopened bottles of Don Julio tequila, candles, and messages written by mourners on a flattened cardboard box taped to the window.

“U will forever be missed. They took your beautiful soul to early,” one message said.

“Sleep easy Stephy,” another person wrote.

The NYPD released a photo early Tuesday of the suspected shooter wearing a black jacket over a black hoodie, as well as black sweatpants and sneakers.

He is described as having a medium complexion, about 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall, with a medium build.

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