Local authorities in New York City have revealed that an elderly bystander who was killed by a stray bullet while outside of his son’s Upper Manhattan deli was an innocent victim of gang violence, caught in the middle of an altercation between rival groups. Had the man lived just one more day, he would have been able to see his grandchild enter the world, according to police and friends of the family.
The New York Post said that Reda Girgis, 66, an Egyptian visiting the city to see his son and his daughter-in-law, was shot and killed outside of the ChopCheese Deli around 7:10 p.m. last Tuesday.
“Girgis had been standing right next to his daughter-in-law when he was struck in the head by a bullet from a drive-by killer, sources said. The shot was likely intended for a gang rival, sources said. But instead it took out the man who was just one day away from being a new grandfather: His daughter-in-law gave birth Wednesday, according to two friends of the family,” the Post reported.
“She saw what happened, and the next day she went to the hospital to give birth to the baby,” one of the family’s friends, who said his name was Sam, stated last Thursday.
The area where the deli is located, West 162nd Street and Broadway, has a lengthy history of gang violence, sources revealed to the outlet. Law enforcement investigators looking into the tragic incident think the bullet that struck Girgis was fired from a dark gray SUV or an Audi with New Jersey plates.
A disturbing video of the shooting shows the elderly Egyptian man talking on his phone outside his son’s business, while next to his pregnant daughter-in-law, when he suddenly crumples to the ground.
“A group of teenagers who had been hanging outside the deli are seen scrambling for safety just moments before Girgis falls to the sidewalk — with his son’s wife frantically running into the store a split-second later,” the Post added.
“I heard [a] noise like firecrackers,” deli manager Gamal Abouelezz said to the news outlet on Wednesday. “All of a sudden I saw the man land on the floor.”
“The man who died is the father of the owner,” Abouelezz continued in his statement. “He came from Egypt to visit him three days ago. He was visiting his son and his pregnant daughter-in-law. He was here to celebrate the baby.”
The manager then revealed that Haney Girgis, the victim’s son, was not in the store when the incident occurred.
“He was standing outside on the phone to his son,” Abouelezz recounted. “His daughter-in-law came and they talked together. She was in the store dropping off groceries. All of a sudden I saw him shot. I saw the man die on [the security camera] TV. I went outside. Everyone was panicked.”
Surveillance footage reveals a crowd of folks gathering around the man’s body as paramedics arrive on the scene a few minutes later, placing Girgis on a stretcher and attempting to revive him with chest compressions.
A relative of the family, Nady Girgis, spoke with the NY Post on Thursday, stating that the incident has left Haney in shambles.
“He saw him lying on the ground,” Gargis revealed concerning the victim’s son. “He’s not good. We are trying to help him get better. It’s really hard.”
Police said Girgis was quickly taken to Metropolitan Hospital Center. He was pronounced dead.
Investigators were able to locate two males who were believed to be the target of the shooting, though they were not able to provide any information about who was responsible for the incident.
As of this writing, there have been no arrests made in the case.
Featured image is a screenshot taken from video embedded above.
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