Two men were seen on surveillance video running for their lives into a Bronx bodega, after a group tried to come after them while wielding machetes on the street, police said.
The men are seen entering the Colorado Bodega in the Morrisania neighborhood around 5 p.m. on Sunday, running from the others who were chasing them with the weapons. The two inside the store were able to keep their attempted attackers at bay and out of the store, using whatever they can get their hands on — including a gumball machine — to fend them off.
The scene was reminiscent of the June 2018 attack that killed Junior Guzman, where a group ganged up on the teen inside a corner store. In this instance, the attackers were never able to make their way inside the door, some that a bodega group spokesperson said may have kept the men alive.
"If [the group] would've been able to enter that bodega, they would've killed these two young in sight," said Fernando Mateo, of the United Bodegas of America group. "No question about it."
One of the men was slashed across the eye and forehead during their frantic defense, before police arrived at the scene. No arrests have yet been made. Detectives at the scene on Tuesday wouldn't comment further, but said the investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, bodega owners say they live in fear of attacks like these. The owner of the bodega where Sunday's incident took place has left the area with his five children, friends told NBC New York, traumatized by the violent episode.
"we fear for our lives to involve ourselves, we have families too to come home to," said Randy Gonzalez, who has worked in bodegas for more than 25 years. "What do we do? Do we let them in, protect them? We are in a limbo."
Another owner said that if someone comes in with a knife like the one seen in the video, the bodega workers can't risk going to defend other people, because they may end up dead as well.
United Bodegas of America is once again pushing for an initiative called "Safe Haven Bodegas," which is a topic they've been discussing since the machete killing of Guzman.
"A panic lock on a door to prevent anyone from coming or going out," Mateo described the instrument the group is seeking. "A 'safe bodega' has a panic button that will reach 911 quickly."