A 20-year-old smoke shop worker is recovering after he was shot in the chest chasing after robbers who grabbed items from a Bushwick store, police and co-workers said.
A group of males entered Dream Burner Smoke Shop at 926 Broadway just before 4 p.m on May 5.
When the worker showed a knife and tried to stop them, police at the scene said, one of the robbers shot him before fleeing.
“It was like eight guys,” said Mustafa “Shortie” Malik, owner of the shop—which sells hookah pipes, e-cigarettes, rolling papers and snacks—and the Big Boy Deli next door. “The kid tried to chase after them and got shot in the chest.”
The exact number of suspects is part of the ongoing investigation, police said, but one juvenile has been arrested and charged with assault, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon—the gun that was used in the shooting.
The victim, who was not named, was taken to Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn. His wounds were not life-threatening, police said.
“He is coming home,” said Flaco Maldonado, who was working the register at the deli on the day of the robbery and is now covering shifts at the smoke shop. “I told him to take the month off, eat good.”
Robberies continue to plague the North Brooklyn police command, which includes the 81st Precinct that covers the smoke shop’s neighborhood.
The same week Dream Burner was robbed, 43 robberies were reported in North Brooklyn—a 56% increase from the same week last year. Six were in the 81st Precinct. Robberies in North Brooklyn are up 20% this year, though they are down 10% in the precinct.
In 2016, Big Boy Deli, then under different ownership, was raided by police searching for evidence of sales of K2, an illegal synthetic version of marijuana. According to the New York Daily News, a batch suspected of being sold out of the deli had been responsible for sickening dozens of people.