Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
Bronx

Alleged Silent Killer in NYC Deli Clerk Slay Is Arrested

The gunman walked into the store and fired off a number of rounds, two of which struck the worker in the body and face, police said

NBCUniversal, Inc.

What to Know

  • 34-year-old Yehya Almunster was shot and killed at a Bronx deli
  • The gunman fired multiple shots inside the deli without saying a word, police said
  • On Wednesday, police arrested the man believed to be responsible for the shooting

Police arrested the man accused of walking into a Bronx deli and fatally shooting a worker behind the counter, without saying a word.

Leonard Nieves was arrested on Wednesday, five days after opening fire inside the B&A Gourmet Deli at the corner of East 137th Street and Brook Avenue in Mott Haven, according to police. The 33-year-old walked into the shop and fired off a number of rounds, two of which struck the worker, police said.

The victim, identified by family as 34-year-old Yehya Almunster, was left unconscious. He was rushed to Lincoln Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

As police led Nieves from the stationhouse in handcuffs Wednesday night, NBC New York asked the accused killer if he killed the clerk, to which he responded, "I don't know what you're talking about."

When asked about the charges he's facing, including murder and manslaughter, Nieves simply asked, "What charges?"

The shooter allegedly walked into the deli in Mott Haven and fired off multiple shots without saying a word. The worker was struck in the face and body, and was pronounced dead at the hospital. NBC New York’s Checkey Beckford reports.

Police believe Nieves is the man seen on security camera walking with a cane Friday evening, his face covered before entering the deli and firing at the worker. He took off right after the shooting, police said.

The store was still closed Wednesday, with a small memorial with candles, flowers and messages growing outside the shop. A woman who said she would go to the store often said the victim was a nice person who seemed to get along with everyone.

"You don’t even have to say what you want, he knows what you want right away," said the woman, who only wanted to be identified as Jasmine. "He’s friendly with everybody, I see him all the time. He laughs, he jokes."

The killing occurred on the same block where a woman was slashed earlier in the week, but there is no evidence to suggest the crimes are related.

A motive for the shooting is not yet clear, but one of the other workers at the deli told NBC New York that the suspect did look familiar. An investigation is ongoing.

Contact Us