Updated 09/07/2012 11:00 PM
NYPD: Bronx Bodega Worker Killed By Accidental Discharge
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A community demanded answers Friday after police shot and killed a Bronx bodega worker in what the NYPD calls a tragic accident.
Family, friends and members of the Bodegueros Association held a candlelight vigil Friday evening near the Morrisania store where 20-year-old Reynaldo Cuevas worked.
Police responded to an armed robbery there earlier in the morning.
Security video showed a uniformed officer, his gun drawn, positioned outside the front door.
Police say Cuevas was trying to escape the robbers when he ran into the officer.
The impact apparently caused the weapon to fire.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the officer followed procedure and the shooting was an accident.
"He ran full speed into the officer," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "The two became entangled, at which point, we believe, the officer accidently discharged his weapon, with one round entering his shoulder."
But family and witnesses claim Cuevas was mistreated after he was shot.
"They just killed my cousin and dragged him like he was a dog," said Cuevas's cousin. "I think we should really have some type of respect. My family is really broken down right now. My family is going through a lot."
Commissioner Kelly met with Cuevas's mother and expressed his condolences but angry residents say too many blacks and Latinos are shot by police.
Cuevas’ uncle, Jesus, who is the store's owner, is outraged.
“No, that’s no accident," Jesus said. You don’t have nothing here. You shoot one time, that is no accident. That is stupid.”
“I don’t believe deep in my heart that a New York City police officer will intentionally kill anybody," said Fernando Mateo, the president of Hispanics Across America. "But I do believe that the NYPD needs to re-educate and retrain its men and women.”
Sources say it's the first time the officer fired his gun in seven years on the job.
17-year-old Christopher Dorsey, 28-year-old Ernesto Delgado and Orlando Ramos were arrested.
They are charged with murder, robbery and weapons possession.
Officials say the thieves, who were carrying a .32 caliber pistol (pictured on the right), forced two workers on the floor and hit one of them with the gun, which turned out to be empty.
But Felix Mora, who fled the bodega before Cuevas, said the robbers hid when police arrived.
“The robbery guy saw the cop," he said. "He say 'the cops are here' and he went to the back of the counter and then I was by myself with Reynaldo and then I got up and went outside.”
Police say two of them hid inside the store until cops threatened to send dogs in.
The pair then allegedly tried to pretend they were hostages but police didn’t go for it.
Cuevas leaves behind several loved ones, including a 3-year-old daughter.