NEW YORK – A young man was shot and killed late Thursday night at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Brooklyn.
Sources say the 19-year-old victim was with several friends just after 10 p.m. when he got in an elevator leading to the store parking garage on Shore Parkway in Bath Beach.
Police said the suspect tried to steal Dereck Chen’s backpack, then pulled out a gun and shot him in the face when he fought back.
CBS2’s Elijah Westbrook spoke with an employee who was working when all this went down.
“They were heading towards the elevator. All I heard was, ‘Get off my bag,'” Rodney Tele told Westbrook. “He was trying to hold onto the guy’s briefcase or whatever he had on him, and all of a sudden, shots rang out — two or three. And I had jumped in the building, because I didn’t want it to be me, so I wound up moving out.”
Watch Elijah Westbrook’s report
The victim’s friends called 911.
Detectives said the 18-year-old gunman fled on foot, but as he made his way out of the garage, he ran into officers and was quickly arrested.
Chen was taken to nearby NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, where he died. Police believe it was a random robbery attempt and he did not know his attacker.
The suspect has been identified as 18-year-old Edino Tzul, of Brooklyn. He’s charged with murder, six counts of robbery, four counts of criminal use of a firearm and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
Police say Tzul also robbed a 17-year-old boy at gunpoint at the scene.
“My reaction, it’s horrible reaction, of course,” BJ’s customer Olga Ckachuk told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.
“We go to that BJ’s all the time, that’s why I’m saying it’s very upsetting,” Bensonhurst resident Elizabeth Chan said.
Chan not only goes to that store but lives down the street from where the victim lived. She told Westbrook she didn’t know the young man but her heart breaks for his family and those who did.
“It’s in our community. It’s a person the same age as my daughter, and we should do something about it,” she said. “No matter what age, you took a person’s life. You need to take responsibility and you need to be punished.”
Friday, the Brooklyn GOP and various Republicans running for office blasted New York City as a “public safety nightmare.”
“Yet again, another New Yorker was the victim of horrific and senseless violence,” said Richie Barsamian, with the Brooklyn GOP.
The store reopened Friday, and the company released a statement calling the shooting a “terrible tragedy.”
“BJ’s Wholesale Club joins our Bath Beach community in mourning the loss of the victim and denouncing violence of any kind. The safety and security of our BJ’s members, team members and community is our top priority, and we are working with local authorities and security experts to ensure the safest environment,” the statement continued.