Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
The wake for the 20-year-old Bronx bodega worker who was shot and killed by a police last week while fleeing an armed robbery will be held Tuesday in Washington Heights as the family of the young father pushes for an independent probe into his death.
Reynaldo Cuevas was shot last Friday when he bolted out of Aneury’s Deli. Police say he ran into an officer whose gun accidentally discharged when the two became entangled. But Cuevas’s relatives believe that he was shot after he hit the ground.
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson has not said whether he would impanel a grand jury to determine if the officer would be charged in the case, but his office said they will pursue a separate investigation from the NYPD.
“We are taking this matter seriously and are looking for a just result,” spokesman Melvin Hernandez said.
The suspects who held up the bodega Cuevas was working at have been charged with murder in addition to robbery.
Sanford Rubenstein, a lawyer representing the family, said additional surveillance footage from the scene obtained by the family has raised questions not yet answered by the police. The NYPD released footage to the public last week.
“The question becomes, ‘How does someone accidently pull a trigger?’” Rubenstein said.
Professor John Eterno, a former NYPD captain, said it’s possible but rare to discharge a weapon without intending to -- especially since the 1990s when the department switched from revolvers to glocks as its main service weapon.
Weapons are now modified so that about 12 pounds of pressure is needed to pull the trigger for every shot, he said.
“The difference is cutting an orange with a dull knife versus a sharp knife” Eterno said. “The difference is great.”
The last time charges were filed against an officer for the shooting death of a civilian was in February, also in the Bronx, in the shooting death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham.
The wake for Reynaldo Cuevas will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ortiz Funeral Home.
His funeral will be held later this week in the Dominican Republic, where his daughter and other family members live.